Political communication is regulated by state agencies and the FEC, but the laws that establish such regulation are concerned with political mailers, television commercials and messages from registered "527" groups. But what about the blogs?
WBRZ-TV in Lousiana reports that council candidate Thomas Kates asked the Louisiana Board of Ethics to consider whether political blogs should be regulated and by whom.
“Unregulated blogs can promote wild political rumors, therefore, does Louisiana election laws or the Board of Ethics address political activities on the Internet? Should there be a blogger code of ethics?” Kates asked.That created a firestorm among bloggers - not surprisingly.
“It’s been a highly public issue. Staff has received dozens of phone calls about this issue,” said chief ethics lawyer Gray Sexton.
In true government fashion, the board had to put the issue on its docket for formal consideration. Having considered it, Sexton delivered the news in a letter to Kates:
Dear Mr. Kates:
The Louisiana Board of Ethics, at its October 12, 2006 meeting, considered your request for an advisory opinion as to whether the Code of Governmental Ethics regulates web-blogs and blog sites and the placement of political campaign signs.
The Board concluded, and instructed me to inform you, that the Code of Governmental Ethics does not regulate web-blogs and blog sites and the placement of political campaign signs.
The Board issues no opinion as to laws other than the Code of Governmental Ethics.