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  • Mitch Harper, editor [contact via email]

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« Fast putt: Tom Kelley first in line online to enter US Senior Open | Main | Today's recommended reading »

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Charlotte A. Weybright

Mitch:

So if I or anyone else started a blog aimed at supporting a specific candidate, it would be an in-kind contribution?

What about blogs that take the side of one candidate over another such as AWB's blog? He makes no secret of the fact that he supports Matt Kelty. Is his blog an in-kind contribution? Does it depend on the amount of info contained or the focus of the blog? Or is it the reference to donations that makes it questionable?

Many of the local bloggers have links to candidates on their blogs. Are those types of activities in-kind contributions? Just curious. Your comment about the in-kind issue made me start thinking about how blogs would be governed if they fell under the campaign finance reporting criteria.

Also, I love the new header - it is modern and the colors are great.

Ed. note: First, thank you for your comment on the new header. Real thanks should go to local blogger and photographer Everett White. I appreciate his giving permission to use the image. I appreciate more that he is a member of Fort Wayne's "thin blue line."

Second, the reason that I mentioned the "in-kind" donation is that reporting a transaction is a "safe harbor" regarding campaign finance. The StopKelty weblog is soliciting donations for support of a particular candidate and, of course, the title indicates that its purpose is to influence the election.

Even so, there is not an existing requirement that such a weblog is to be reported under Indiana campaign finance law. The only reporting would be by a campaign or political committee if it were paying the weblog's expenses. That would be reported simply because it is a disbursement of the committee.

There continues to be a robust discussion regarding weblogs in regards to federal election law, particularly in regards to information that some webloggers have been paid by campaigns to post information.

Charlotte A. Weybright

In re-reading Mitch’s comments about the stopkelty.com blog, I realize I am in agreement as to his assessment of the potential for an in-kind contribution. The idea of using a blog to solicit campaign funds raises an interesting question. If blogs operate as a donation-generating mechanism, are they subject to campaign finance laws even if the blog isn’t sanctioned by the candidate?

With the thousands of blogs around the world, how would they be controlled? Just brainstorming!

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