FEC war: Dems reject call to protect Internet news, talk radio from regs

In the latest partisan escalation on the Federal Election Commission, a top Democratic commissioner has ripped a Republican commissioner's bid to protect books, radio and Internet media from regulation as "pitiful."

Ann Ravel, a former FEC chairwoman, joined other Democrats at a meeting this month to block Republican Lee Goodman's proposal to explicitly expand the "press exemption" from regulations to books, satellite radio and Internet-based news media.

In pushing his plan aside, Ravel said that she didn't have enough time to consider Goodman's proposal.

Goodman noted that the proposal has been under consideration for a while.

That prompted Ravel to mock that Goodman's public argument was meant to feed a story to the Washington Examiner, which has covered his concerns that FEC Democrats are trying to regulate conservative media, especially news outlets and news aggregators like the Drudge Report that are online.

"I presume you're just trying to utilize this argument for the Washington Examiner," she said.

That comment was tweeted by Dave Levinthal, a senior reporter for the Center for Public Integrity, who follows elections and the FEC.

Ravel later tweeted a correction. "@davelevinthal @dcexaminer @FEC actually I was wrong, Dave. He chose the Daily Caller instead. Pitiful."

Goodman told Secrets that the latest attack on his proposals again show that Democrats are hostile to free press rights generally and in the past he has noted their antagonism to conservative media which is heavily internet based and on the radio, including Sirius/XM. Ravel's "pitiful" comment appeared to refer to conservative news attention to Goodman's proposal.

"Once again, Commissioner Ravel has chosen to inject divisive ad hominem rhetoric into an honest debate about the scope of press freedom in America," he said.

"Instead of name-calling, Commissioner Ravel should explain why she wants to assert the power as a government official to ban books and motion pictures. She also owes an explanation for what appears to be a prejudice toward press organizations like Fox News, Washington Examiner and Daily Caller."

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