Working the System, and Its Gaps

A Campaign Undeclared, Not Invisible

Mr. Thompson, a Republican, has been able to set up what looks like a stealth campaign on the Internet because federal election laws and enforcement have failed to catch up with the surge in campaigning in cyberspace. As a result, he has been able to promote his positions and raise money through his Web site, all while technically remaining a noncandidate.

And that status enables him to remain on television on “Law and Order” reruns without NBC facing demands from other candidates for equal time. It exempts him from the more rigorous rules on reporting donors that declared candidates must adhere to.