League Supports Rep. Bass' Internet Bill

RELEASE: IMMEDIATE
CONTACT: Jane Armstrong, President
          League of Women Voters of New Hampshire
          (603) 225-5344 or president@lwvnh.org


LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS SUPPORTS CONGRESSMAN BASS’ INTERNET BILL

Concord, NH—The League of Women Voters is urging support H.R. 4900, the
“Internet Free Speech Protection Act of 2006” introduced by Representatives
Charles Bass (R-NH) and Tom Allen (D-ME). The US House of Representatives is
expected to consider the bill on March 15.

The bipartisan legislation would ensure that bloggers and other individuals
communicating on the Internet are exempt from campaign finance laws, without
opening huge soft money loopholes in the laws.

The League is opposed to another bill, H.R. 1606, which would open soft
money loopholes in the campaign finance laws by allowing federal candidates
and political parties to pay for campaign ads on the Internet that attack
and promote federal candidates.

The text of a letter sent to Rep. Jeb Bradley (R-NH) follows:

Dear Representative Bradley:


The League of Women Voters of New Hampshire strongly urges you to support
H.R.4900, the “Internet Free Speech Protection Act of 2006,” introduced by
Representatives Tom Allen (D-ME) and Charles Bass (R-NH), when this matter
is considered by the full House on March 15.


This bipartisan legislation would ensure that bloggers and other individuals
communicating on the Internet are exempt from campaign finance laws, without
opening huge soft money loopholes in the laws.


We also strongly urge you to oppose H.R. 1606, introduced by Representative
Jeb Hensarling (R-TX). The Hensarling legislation would open huge soft money
loopholes in the campaign finance laws by allowing the use of corrupting
soft money by federal candidates and political parties to pay for campaign
ads on the Internet that attack and promote federal candidates.


Both H.R. 4900 and H.R 1606 address the question of how the campaign finance
laws apply to communications on the Internet.


The Allen-Bass bill contains provisions to ensure that bloggers and other
Internet users do not inadvertently run afoul of the campaign finance laws.
The bill also provides Internet media with the same press protections that
all other media receive under the campaign finance laws.


The Hensarling bill does not contain these protections.


Campaign finance laws prohibit corporations, labor unions and wealthy
individuals from spending soft money in coordination with federal candidates
to pay for campaign ads on the Internet that promote or attack federal
candidates.


The Hensarling bill would allow this use of soft money in federal elections.


The Allen-Bass bill, by contrast, would not allow members of Congress and
others to make use of soft money to support their federal campaigns.


The Allen-Bass bill strikes the right balance between protecting free speech
rights on the Internet unencumbered by the campaign finance laws, while also
ensuring that the campaign finance laws continue to protect against
corruption and the appearance of corruption.


We strongly urge you to vote for the Allen-Bass bill and against the
Hensarling bill.


Sincerely yours,

Jane Armstrong, President
League of Women Voters of New Hampshire
4 Park Street, Suite 200
Concord, NH 03301