Kansas GOP Insider (wannabe): This is stupid, vindictive

Saturday, September 22, 2012

This is stupid, vindictive

Last week, the Kansas Ethics Commission fined two lawmakers basically for "friending" lobbyists on Facebook.

"Friending" is allowed, but Rep. Greg Smith and House candidate Becky Nioce announced upcoming fundraisers on their Facebook pages. Kansas law prohibits legislators and candidates from soliciting campaign donations while the Legislature is in session.

The pair was fined $100 each. I don't have enough words to say how vindictive, stupid, ridiculous, wasteful, the penalty and hearing -- HEARING -- over this issue was.

I am Facebook friends with several legislators, and everyone announces fundraising events on their pages. This strikes me *almost* as a personal property issue and of course, a free speech concern. Legislators, in a sense, own their Facebook pages, the same way I own my home. As long as their posts comply with Facebook terms of service, they should be allowed to post whatever they want.

I should add, I think the prohibition against soliciting campaign contributions while the Legislature is in session is moronic anyway. As long as the donations are reported, I think people should be allowed to donate as much to whomever, whenever they want. If making donations isn't illegal, I should be able to use my money however I want.

Now I'm getting on a soap box. But before I leave it, let me add one more thing:  It's easy to see how quickly and insidiously our freedoms slip away. How you spend the money you earn, what you write on your Facebook page -- these seem like simple freedoms.

The ethics commission determined that Smith and Nioce didn't intend to violate campaign finance laws. But I can't believe they convened a panel to discuss the issue. This could've been resolved with a simple letter explaining the rules and how the Facebook posts were inappropriate.

What a waste of everyone's time and money.

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