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FPPC Considers Regulating Electronic Campaigns

— YouTube and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are an integral part of political campaigns these days. But it’s not always easy to follow the money online. That’s why the state’s campaign finance watchdog is taking a closer look at the issue.

The Fair Political Practices Commission has formed a special committee. Its job is to figure out whether state regulations need an upgrade to adapt to the world of electronic campaigning. FPPC Chairman Ross Johnson said it’s not just TV ads and mailers anymore – but the public is still entitled to know who’s paying.

“I believe they have a right to know that and I think that this explosion in the new media makes it much more difficult to follow that today,” said Johnson.

The committee will hold public hearings on the issue. Johnson said there will be all sorts of challenges, especially with some of the social networking sites, like Twitter.

“The disclosure requirements if you’re tweeting will take up the entire message, so how do we address that as an example,” he said.

The goal is not to regulate everyday tweeting , Johnson said. It’s the organized campaigns that are already under the FPPC’s purview that are being discussed. Johnson hopes to have recommendations by next summer.

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