Election officials have thrown out a complaint against John Kerry's presidential campaign and CBS over a now-discredited story that questioned President Bush's National Guard service.
The Federal Election Commission, in a 6-0 ruling, said there was no reason to believe the allegations raised by the Center for Individual Freedom over the story that aired on CBS' "60 Minutes Wednesday" in September.
The decision disclosed this week was apparently reached unanimously due to press exemption protection.
The FEC vote, taken last month, was disclosed this week in a statement by the commission's three Republican members explaining why they joined the FEC's three Democrats in rejecting the complaint.
The GOP commissioners - Michael Toner, Bradley Smith and David Mason - wrote that they believe the CBS story is protected by the media's exemption from campaign finance laws.
"It is not for this agency to determine what is a 'legitimate news story' or who is a 'responsible journalist,'" the three wrote.
"Allegations of coordination are of no import when applying the press exemption," they said. "What a press entity says in broadcasts, news stories and editorials is absolutely protected under the press exemption."
Perhaps CBS will re-think the firing of those involved...