FEC chair warns of chilling regulations, book ban on conservative publishers

FEC chair warns of chilling regulations, book ban on conservative publishers

The chairman of the Federal Election Commission today blasted Democratic colleagues opposed to his effort to protect conservative media after they imposed rules on the publisher of Rep. Paul Ryan‘s new book, opening the door to future book regulations — or even a ban.

“By failing to affirm this publisher’s constitutional right, statutory right, to disseminate a political book free from FEC conditions and regulations, we have effectively asserted regulatory jurisdiction over a book publisher,” warned Chairman Lee E. Goodman, one of three Republicans on the six-person FEC.

“That failure reveals a festering legal uncertainty and chill for the free press rights of books and book publishers to publish and disseminate political books free from government regulation,” he added.

His comments after the FEC OK’d Republican Ryan’s request to promote his new book, The Way Forward, were immediately and sharply rebuked by Democratic Commissioner Ellen L. Weintraub. “No one is banning books,” she said.

Weintraub also hit Goodman for suggesting “that we are motivated by partisan bias, which is really not appreciated and untrue. I want to categorically deny that.”

The hard feelings continued after the morning session when Democrats on the commission refused to attend subsequent meetings, according to an insider.

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