McCain-Feingold's Internet Loophole
Tell George Soros! Three reasons to spend campaign cash online.
3. There are fewer disclosure requirements. Under McCain-Feingold, anyone who broadcasts an issue ad on radio or television within 60 days of the general election must disclose the expenditure and the contributions within 24 hours. That's not true on the Internet or with other forms of political advertising, such as print ads, telephone calls, and direct mail. Combined with the fact that the Internet allows you to broadcast TV-like advertisements, it seems like the logical place to start if you want to engage in the sort of mischief that the Wyly brothers created in 2000 when they formed a phony group named "Republicans for Clean Air" and paid for some anti-McCain TV ads.
So, let's get a move on! Heck, even some campaign-reform advocates are open to the idea. "What you don't just want to sort of stomp on are interesting, innovative ways of engaging the American people in discussions about politics," Celia Wexler, vice president for advocacy at Common Cause, told me when I asked if her group was worried about the Internet campaign-finance loopholes. "It's hard to know what we're talking about, what it is that would bother us as reformers." Sounds like a challenge. How about it, George?
Net Election thanks Federal Election Commission spokesman Bob Biersack and former FEC Chairman Trevor Potter for helping to explain the law.