Campaign finance regulations continue becoming more extreme

From John Fund at OpinionJournal's Political Diary

First, the McCain-Feingold bill placed restrictions on ads run by advocacy groups within 60 days of an election. Then the Federal Election Commission staff proposed regulating the activities of Internet bloggers if they promote a candidate. Now a Washington state judge has ruled that two Seattle talk show hosts will have to place a monetary value on "campaign contributions" they make when they argue in favor of a proposed ballot measure.

Angry motorists in the state have collected signatures to put Initiative 912 on the ballot, which would repeal a three-cent increase in the state's gas tax. But city attorneys in several Washington counties took I-912's backers to court because some of the donors giving money to the effort through the Internet payment service PayPal weren't revealing personal information as required by the state's campaign disclosure laws.

Judge Chris Wickham, a superior court judge in the state capital of Olympia, not only found in favor of the opponents but went further to argue that Kirby Wilbur and John Carlson, two hosts at Seattle news/talk station KVI, were required to determine and report a monetary value for their pro-I-912 commentary. . . .

What is next? A judge ordering one of Seattle's newspapers to determine a monetary value for an editorial that praises one candidate while disparaging another? . . .

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