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Blogger Disclosures Open Up A Huge Can Of Worms

Posted by Former Blogger Chris Emami on April 20, 2012

H/T to Total Buzz for posting on their blog the story on California potentially forcing bloggers to reveal if they have received payments from political campaigns.

I am sure that this will open me up for attack in the comment section, but I feel the need to take a stance against the idea of blogger payment disclosure (full disclosure I am a blogger). “OC Political” does receive money from advertisers or in the case of a client that has retained us as consultants we will provide an advertisement as part of the contract. We do not attempt to hide our advertisers our clients (simply look to your left). The real problem here is the bigger issue of California and the amount of overregulation they impose.

We openly disclose who our consulting clients are when writing posts that may impact them or potential opponents that they may face in an election. The reason we do this is to maintain our credibility as a blog and to ensure that our readers are aware of any potential bias that we may have.

However, having California regulate blogger payments is simply an overburdensome regulation. We already are supposed to be tracking this in the form 460’s filled out by all candidates that disclose who they received campaign contributions from and what they spent campaign money on as well.

FlashReport author Jon Fleischman sums the problem up best in his quote to the Orange County Register blog:

How would the Fair Political Practices Commission handle anonymous blogs? Would advertising revenue fall under the regulated payments? How would the commission educate amateur bloggers?

As stated before, we here at “OC Political” believe in disclosing our financial interests in campaigns, but only for the purpose of maintaining our credibility. Other blogs can do whatever they want in terms of disclosure, but should they choose not to disclose a financial gain from supporting a candidate or opposing a candidate the end result should simply be a loss of credibility not an FPPC fine.

With much bigger issues at play in California than blogging I think this is simply another smoke screen to distract away from the real budgetary problems that California faces.

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