A hat tip to the LA Times for this post about how the California Fair Political Practices Commission wants to require candidates for political office to disclose payments to bloggers to post positive pieces for a candidate or attack sites to tear down other candidates.
From the story:
Alarmed that political groups are secretly funding bloggers and Internet websites to promote or attack candidates, the head of the state’s ethics watchdog agency said Thursday that she will ask that such payments be disclosed.
Ann Ravel, chairwoman of the state Fair Political Practices Commission, said she plans to have her agency initially request the disclosure on a voluntary basis but said that, to be effective, such disclosures likely will end up having to be required by law.
“I think we have to examine disclosure for bloggers and other Internet pundits who receive funding for their endorsements,” Ravel said during a conference on campaign funding co-sponsored by USC. “If we made a connection between a funder and somebody’s opinion so that opinion isn’t really that of the blogger, or the perception is that it might not be, people should be able to know about it.”
Ravel said such disclosure should also apply to websites like a recently created, anonymously funded one that draws attention to criminal charges pending against Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon, a candidate for Assembly.
In 2009, Chip Hanlon, chief executive of the blog site Red County, announced that one of its writers had been let go after it was discovered the writer was taking payments from a consultant for gubernatorial candidate Steve Poizner “for favorable coverage.” Although candidates must disclose their spending, the true source of the funding is hidden when payments are made to consultants, who then pay the bloggers.
So these rules would certainly come into affect in Orange County where Santa Ana blogger Art Pedroza was paid by the campaigns of Santa Ana mayor Miguel Pulido, council members Michele Martinez and Sal Tinajero. A site attacked mayor candidate Alfredo Amezcua called “Amezcua Facts” was later tied to Pedroza, who did not disclose during the 2010 campaign cycle that he had been paid by Pulido.
TheLiberalOC does accept payment for advertising on this site by any candidate (bring those checks Republicans….) but no one here receives payments for political consulting.