Vote Coming On McCain’s Internet Regulations


Will Congress Ditch John McCain’s Internet Regulations?
— Vote coming soon to preserve online political speech

Gun Owners of America alerted you a couple of weeks ago to legislation — introduced by Texas Congressmen Jeb Hensarling and Ron Paul — that will exempt the Internet from regulation under federal “electioneering” laws.

The bill, H.R. 1606, was supposed to come to a vote on March 16, but it was inexplicably pulled from the House calendar. The good news is that bill is now back on the calendar, and it is scheduled for a vote as early as Wednesday.

Unless the Hensarling-Paul bill is enacted, many major blogs and web sites could be shut down for 60 days before any general election — and for 30 days prior to any primary — making it much more difficult for groups like Gun Owners of America to criticize anti-gun candidates.

These regulations have resulted from two court opinions that followed the passage of the Incumbent Protection Act — a law sponsored by Senators John McCain and Russ Feingold. One opinion upheld the McCain-Feingold law almost in its entirely [McConnell v. FEC]. In the other — Shays v. Federal Election Commission — judges ordered the Federal Election Commission to regulate the Internet.

The FEC is still mightily fighting the court to minimize the regulation of the Internet. But who knows if they will prevail, or if a future administration will take a much different view. This is why H.R. 1606 is so important.

The danger, as it stands now, is that if Hensarling and Paul are unsuccessful in exempting the Internet from FEC regulation, many major blogs and web sites could one day be construed to be engaged in “electioneering communications” because they praise or criticize candidates. And, if this happens, they could be shut down for 60 days prior to an election — or, at least, subject to a “gag rule” on what they are allowed to say.


“Live Fire” radio with Larry Pratt is broadcast by the Information Radio Network on Saturdays at 12:00 Noon Eastern. “Live Fire” is simulcast on the web at and previous episodes are archived at in RealAudio. Recent guests and topics have included:

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