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Thursday
May032012

SACRAMENTO: Fair Political Practices Commission, shelving of plan to require financial/payment disclosure by California political bloggers....

***Following up on earlier report noted here....

* Sacramento Bee:  "FPPC shelves plan to require disclosure by California political bloggers" - From the Bee:

   The director of California's political watchdog agency is shelving her proposal to require bloggers to disclose payments they receive from political campaigns.

   Chairwoman Ann Ravel of the Fair Political Practices Commission said she remains committed to holding public debate over mandatory disclosure with the hope that a plan could emerge in the future. Meanwhile, Ravel said she wants to seek voluntary disclosure by bloggers for the November election, though she conceded, "I don't think there's going to be a large amount of voluntary disclosure."

   To supplement voluntary disclosure, Ravel said she may ask the FPPC to consider requiring political candidates to publicize in a distinct format any money they pay to bloggers and provide a link to that information on their website.

   ****

   Ravel's initial vow to seek mandatory disclosure, announced at an FPPC seminar last month, drew plenty of attention for targeting a medium known as a bastion of anything-goes free speech. Ravel said today that backing off the mandatory disclosure plan was partly a response to opposition by bloggers and others who claim it could have a chilling effect on free speech or political discourse.

   "I haven't totally given up on the thought," Ravel said. "I think it may well be that after a lot of public input and discussion, it's still something that could occur." Ravel characterized herself as shelving the mandatory plan, but not killing it.

   Even if Ravel had sought a vote on mandatory disclosure, she was likely to find the issue controversial among the FPPC board.............