Just as the New York Times reports that the IRS is using the law to seize bank accounts of citizens who have never been charged with let alone convicted of a crime, we learn about yet another threat to our freedom.
Ann Ravel, the top Democrat on the Federal Elections Commission, who will likely move into the top job at the FEC next year, has broached the subject of a “government review board” for the internet.
This Orwellian move would strengthen government’s ability to control political speech. Ravel called for “burdensome new rules on Internet-based campaigning” on Friday, and the Examiner noted that this might lead to regulation of online sites such as Drudge.
FEC Chairman Lee Goodman and his fellow Republicans on the FEC issued a statement if Ravel’s extreme proposal is adopted they will “chill” politics on the internet and that “then anybody who writes a political blog, runs a politically active news site or even chat room could be regulated. He added that funny internet campaigns like ‘Obama Girl,’ and ‘Jib Jab’ would also face regulations.”
That—of course—is the idea: Democrats are increasingly uncomfortable with the idea that people think they have a right to hold and voice unapproved ideas. The Examiner reports:
I told you this was coming,” Goodman told Secrets. Earlier this year he warned that Democrats on the panel were gunning for conservative Internet sites like the Drudge Report.
Ravel plans to hold meetings next year to discuss regulating the internet. She charged that groups placing paid TV ads use the FEC exemption to disseminate similar messages on the internet, regulation free. But Goodman says that Ravel misconceives the exemption. If the same message that is run on TV also is posted online, it is regulated, he said. The Internet exemption applies only to videos posted for free, solely on the Internet.
Blasting the exemption, she said, “Since its inception this effort to protect individual bloggers and online commentators has been stretched to cover slickly-produced ads aired solely on the Internet but paid for by the same organizations and the same large contributors as the actual ads aired on TV,” Ravel argued.
Ravel’s plan seems designed to do something uncannily similar to what the IRS did when it targeted conservatives during the 2012 presidential campaign: muffle conservatives. Progressives seem to believe that, if they can’t win arguments, they can use the government to shut up their opponents.