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It's back: FEC says regulating Internet, Google, Facebook under its 'purview'

After backing down amid concerns she wanted to regulate political speech, and even new sites like the Drudge Report, the chairwoman of the Federal Election Commission has renewed talk about targeting campaign and political activities on the internet.

Ann M. Ravel, discussing election regulation during a speech in New York, suggested it was time to produce "thoughtful policy" targeting internet political activity. She also expressed frustration that her last bid was met with "threatening misogynist responses to me."

She was speaking at a day-long conference hosted by the Brennan Center for Justice, the New York City Campaign Finance Board, and the Committee for Economic Development when she was asked about regulating the internet, Google and Facebook.

Ravel said that it would be under the "purview" of the FEC to oversee internet political activities such as fundraising and donations.

Her speech was just posted on YouTube.

Under current rules, the FEC regulates paid campaign ads on the internet just like they do on TV. However, videos or other social media posted for free are not regulated.

When the Democrats on the FEC first raised the possibility of regulations, opponents feared they were going to target conservative groups, activities and news sites. A proposal to delve into the issue died in a 3-3 vote.

Republican Commissioner Lee E. Goodman, the previous chairman, warned that regulations would silence voices on the internet and that sites with a political bent, even in the media, could face rules requiring them to disclose donors and finances.

But in answering the question this week, Ravel indicated she wants to pursue regulations.

Click here to read more from The Washington Examiner.

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