Tuesday, 19 August 2008

In Passing

It’s called “accountability”

Insty links a PJM story about how McCain-Feingold’s “reforms” gave federal bureaucrats say over private citizens’ “legal” political speech:

...in 2000, FEC investigators descended on Muleshoe, Texas, a small farming town of just under 5,000 inhabitants west of Lubbock. They were looking into a complaint filed against [two] local citizens who made the horrible mistake of putting up competing signs alternately supporting Al Gore or George Bush.
After subjecting Liles, Morton, and two other locals to an extensive investigation, the lawyers for the FEC found that they had violated federal law because their homemade sign did not have a disclaimer. In other words, it did not say who had paid for the sign and whether or not it was approved by the candidate, even though everyone in this very small town apparently knew who was responsible... The FEC’s general counsel recommended sending an admonishment letter — he could just as easily have recommended a civil penalty...
The author of the PJM piece, Hans von Spakovsky, is a former Federal Election Commission member. The outrages he describes took place during his tenure. With that in mind, he gets taken to task in the comments:
comment by aloysiusmiller:

So you’ve become an agent of the FEC helping to propagate fear and uncertainty? Anyone who reads this will be a little less likely to express themselves in a spontaneous way.

But you could have written it differently. You could have provided the names of the FEC investigators and staff who promulgated this ruling. Better yet you may have provided their e-mail addresses or their home addresses so that we could send letters to their neighbors shaming them into ignominy for their egregious abuse of the First Amendment. Their parents and children should be shamed by their actions.

Those are the kinds of blogs we need on this story.

Name names.

Aug 19, 2008 - 5:06 am
Hear! Hear!

As I wrote almost a year ago:
“Naming and shaming” of officials may turn out to be one of the bloggers’ most important functions, given the way the regular media (even talk radio) customarily omit identifying the people behind the positions.
While the MSM may worry about staying on good terms with its “sources” (and von Spavosky may want to avoid embarrassing his former colleagues), bloggers shouldn’t owe these bozos anything. The little grey men who “just enforce the rules” should be outed– repeatedly. And if being confronted over what they do makes them uncomfortable, well it’s called “accountability.”

I eagerly await von Spakovsky’s follow-up.

Related: McCain sets himself up the bomb

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