“U.S. District Court Rules Against Anonymous Blogging About Candidates”

by - April 30, 2013

On September 9, 2012, a U.S. District Court ruled that Maine does not violate the U.S. Constitution when it bans anonymous blogs that make commentary about a candidate for public office. The court refused to stop the Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics from fining Dennis Bailey for refusing to identify himself on his own blog, “The Cutler Files.” This is not new news, but because this outcome had not previously been reported either here, or in many other press outlets, it is being mentioned now even though it happened over six months ago. The decision is Bailey v State of Maine Commission on Governmental Ethics and Election Practices, 1:11-cv-179. The Maine law exempts periodicals from the disclosure requirement. The Court ruled that Bailey’s webpage was not a true periodical, because it was set up to post damaging material about Eliot Cutler, an independent candidate for Governor of Maine, and that it was never intended to be a permanent blog. It said the blog was more like a “negative campaign flyer than a periodical publication. Surprised we’ve not heard of this case before.  I expect we’ll now hear a lot more about it.

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