Today I filed an Federal Election Commission (FEC) complaint against Kos Media, LLC., better known as DailyKos.com. I allege that they operate as a political committee and are therefore subject to FEC rules.
I first thought of this complaint during the Cindy Sheehan debacle over at Daily Kos, where Cindy pledged to run as an independent against Nancy Pelosi, and the Daily Kos basically turned on her. While some conservatives took great delight in this, I really didn't care because it's politics as usual. The right has thrown their fair share of people under the bus for not drinking the Kool-aid too.
However, the statement that the DailyKos was about electing Democrats stuck with me. I always assumed it was a standard left-wing group blog spouting the latest and greatest in left-wing diatribe. However, the statement that the blog exists to get Democrats elected is repeated in various places around the site, including statements by Kos himself.
Federal Election Commission rules apply for organizations that spend or contribute an equivalent of $1,000 per year in trying to influence elections for federal office. DailyKos is owned by Kos Media, a company, which makes it fit the definition of an organization. It surely spends at least $1,000 per year in hosting and based on what they charge (and get) for advertising, their support of candidates is certainly worth over $1,000 per year. Lastly, their self-identified purpose is to influence elections in the Democrats favor. They fit the criteria.
Some will argue that this is a slippery slope that will snare all bloggers. First, most bloggers aren't organizations. Second, most bloggers are read by like 3 people and their posts are certainly not worth $1,000. Third, most bloggers don't exist for the primary purpose of electing certain people to federal office.
A better question to ask is can a political committee avoid campaign regulations by simply organizing in the form of a blog? Surely not.
There is also debate on the prudence of the various election laws and whether or not they are helpful or harmful to our democratic republic. This debate is all fine and interesting but that doesn't mean partisan sites can flout the law simply because they don't like it. Most of the federal election laws people don't have a problem with, such as the laws requiring disclosure. That is all this complaint is about, that the DailyKos needs to file disclosure reports to the FEC, just like every other political committee out there.
In the end, the DailyKos is bound by its own statement that it exists to elect Democrats. They've made themselves subject to the FEC when they decided to be an arm of the Democratic Party.Powered by Sidelines