FPPC drops talk of requiring bloggers to disclose payments from politicians and campaigns

Ann Ravel, the chairwoman of the state's Fair Political Practices Commission, is giving up for now on trying to force bloggers to disclose payments they receive from political campaigns. She's moving instead to seek voluntary disclosure by bloggers for the November election, but isn't holding her breath. "I don't think there's going to be a large amount of voluntary disclosure," she says in Capitol Alert.

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.

Candidates already are required to disclose payments to bloggers as a campaign expenditure, but the information typically is contained in a long list of expenses and is easily overlooked by voters.

By contrast, mandatory disclosure would have created an entirely new category of disclosure, by bloggers themselves, that readers could have monitored on websites publishing their commentary or opinions....

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."

For the record, LA Observed takes political advertising through the Blogads service — and if we accept an ad from one side of a campaign or issue will always accept ads from the other sides. There are no secret payments here. And political ads that run here are never endorsements by LA Observed.

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