(Alexandria, VA.) – Last week, Our Generation, a nonpartisan free market advocacy group submitted public comments to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) regarding an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (ANPRM) that would regulate political speech online. These new rules under consideration by the FEC set a dangerous precedent that would severely undermine the political and policy debate process for millions of individuals and groups nationwide. Our Generation takes this matter very seriously as the work we do on behalf of our membership would be greatly impacted by these new regulations.
In the proposed rule the Commission seeks comment on whether it should “improve its collection and presentation of campaign finance data” which presumably means, at least in part, regulation of the Internet. Our Generation asserts that the Internet should continue to remain a robust and vibrant space for political discussion and in its comments urged the Commission to continue to take a “hands off approach.” Any rules the Commission promulgates must respect the First Amendment and not infringe upon the rights of citizens to engage in constitutionally protected speech.
For example, it is easy for individuals to create videos and other internet speech for very little cost. Should the Commission seek to regulate this type of speech, Our Generation’s video contest and other speech may be severely limited and regulated. Our democracy is best served by allowing political speech to remain unregulated, uncensored and available to all.
The Internet, left unchecked, has been partly responsible for increased political participation. Such participation should be encouraged and not stifled by government regulation. Our Generation urges the Commission to continue its hands off policy and leave the Internet largely unregulated.