- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 2, 2002

Regulating e-mails
Sen. John McCain and other congressional backers of the new campaign finance law demanded that the Federal Election Commission regulate e-mails as well as Internet advertising, according to FEC Commissioner Bradley Smith.
Mr. Smith, interviewed last week by Tony Snow on the Fox News Channel's "Special Report," said the commission resisted the Arizona Republican's demands because the Internet was not mentioned in the legislation.
"For example, the bill mentions a wide variety of types of communications that are going to be set for more regulation billboards, magazines, broadcasts, cable, satellite. Never says a word about Internet," said Mr. Smith, a Republican appointee.
"But when we went into our regulatory process, Senator McCain and the other sponsors urged us to go ahead and regulate the Internet. Well, four members of the commission said no.
"And those sponsors have asked the four members. Those four members said we should resign. Now, they all say they want to regulate publicly the Internet. But they didn't in their comments to the commission."
Mr. Snow: "How do they want to regulate the Internet?"
Mr. Bradley: "Well, they want us to treat it like another other campaign resource and limit the amounts that can be spent on it and who can spend money. And to me, this would smother this new medium that's so democratic, that's inexpensive, that almost anyone can use.
"And I think that had Congress known that they were going to be regulating the Internet, it wouldn't have passed. Or another example is e-mails. They want to regulate e-mail communications."
Mr. Snow: "Wait, wait. How do you do that?"
Mr. Smith: "What they want to do is regulate e-mail communications. If they go to more than 500 people, they would have to be paid for with certain amounts of hard money and subject to reporting requirements of the act, and all the other panoply of things that go on under the Federal Elections Campaign act, which is a very complex act."
Mr. Snow: "But whose communication would it regulate? Simply those of officeholders, or anybody who's supporting an officeholder? How do you make the bill of distinctions?"
Mr. Smith: "Well, it would be any communications made by political parties and also by various 501C and nonprofit groups that citizens might belong to. So, for example, if you're a member of, you know, any group. You can pick one, the NRA .
Mr. Snow: "So would it apply to Common Cause, pushing for McCain-Feingold?"
Mr. Smith: "If they sent out 500 e-mails at a particular time close to an election. Now, we've rejected that approach. We say, look, people, your e-mails are going to stay unregulated, at least until Congress specifically says we want you to regulate Internet and e-mail."

Godless agenda
Concerned Women for America, citing the recent court ruling that the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional, has begun airing radio ads this week in South Dakota urging Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle, South Dakota Democrat, to stop blocking President Bush's judicial nominees.
The ad features CWA President Sandy Rios saying:
"'We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights.' The Founding Fathers of this great country knew that God himself was the very soul of the nation. America knows this too. When shaken to her core on September 11, she knew where to turn and from whom she could draw her strength. But if activist judges have their way, God will no longer be acknowledged even in the Pledge of Allegiance.
"'I'm Sandy Rios, President of Concerned Women for America, imploring you to take action. Senator Tom Daschle has been obstructing the confirmation of President Bush's appointments, the very kind of judges who would never have made such a decision. Your senator's political gamesmanship has resulted in the advancement of a godless agenda. Call Senator Daschle today, and tell him to stop blocking honorable judicial nominees."

Leahy's legacy
"Senate Judiciary Chairman Pat Leahy is building quite a legacy," the Wall Street Journal says.
"Already responsible for a judge shortage on the federal courts, Vermont's super-partisan has now received a remedial education in the separation of powers," the newspaper said in an editorial.
"It comes in the form of a letter of rebuke from no fewer than seven former U.S. solicitor generals from both political parties and stretching all the way back to Archibald Cox in the Kennedy administration. The other signers are Seth Waxman, Walter Dellinger and Drew Days (Clinton), Ken Starr (George H.W. Bush), Charles Fried (Reagan) and Robert Bork (Nixon).
"They all object to Mr. Leahy's demand that the Justice Department turn over the private memoranda and recommendations from judicial nominee Miguel Estrada's days in the Clinton SG's office. Their letter cites the need for 'candor and confidentiality in decision-making; if lawyers think their advice will be paraded through the leak-filled Senate, they 'inevitably will hesitate before giving their honest, independent analysis.'
"What this reveals is how low Mr. Leahy is going in his obsession with defeating President Bush's judicial nominees. As a Judiciary chairman, he's supposed to have more respect for the Constitution than the average political hack. Yet he's been willing to endorse epic document searches that even members of his own party assert are blatantly unconstitutional."

Looking ahead
"Veteran political prognosticator Larry Sabato, director of the University of Virginia's Center for Politics, has identified what he believes are the five key factors that will determine the outcome of the 2002 elections," United Press International reports in its Capital Comment column.
"Speaking Thursday at a forum sponsored by Frontiers of Freedom, a conservative citizens' organization, Sabato said presidential popularity, the war on terror, the state of the economy, redistricting and what he called 'the scandal factor' are the things to watch over the summer and into the fall.
"Sabato predicted 'if everything went the Republicans' way, they could win as many as four Senate seats,' though, he cautioned, the same is true for the Democrats. He suggested the more likely outcome would be a swing of one or two seats to either party.
"'In the U.S. House,' Sabato said, 'there are only 36 competitive races, 18 of which are already Democrat seats. I do not see Democrats winning enough to retake control, barring a very strong wind suddenly blowing their way.'"

Gore in the balance
"I'm afraid our friend Al Gore has more than perfection as his enemy," Bill Turque writes in "The Breakfast Table" feature in Slate (www.slate.com).
"The story out of Memphis this weekend was painful to read. One more promise that this time we'll see the 'real' Al Gore. One more vow to let 'er rip and give 'em hell. If the goal is to inspire and rally his base, I'm not sure he gets there by telling them he was a stooge for his band of overpaid consultants in 2000. This whole business of vowing to tell it like it is next time has become a sorry Goreian ritual. His Memphis comments bear a dispiriting resemblance to passages in the introduction to 'Earth in the Balance.' There he writes that he caved to his consultants in his 1988 presidential campaign and abandoned his own instincts, which were to focus on arms control and the environment. 'I began to doubt my own political judgment,' he wrote, 'so I began to ask the pollsters and professional politicians what they thought I ought to talk about.'
"Now here's a great '04 bumper sticker. 'Gore: This Time, He'll Have the Courage of His Convictions (Really).'"



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