...Nancy Pelosi has cooked up with Public Citizen’s Joan Claybrook a “lobbying reform” that actually protects rich special interests and activist millionaires while clamping new shackles on citizens’ First Amendment rights to petition Congress and speak their minds.We've posted only a brief excerpt. Please rad it all here.
...The proposal [Joan Claybrook of Public Citizen] is helping craft for introduction early in 2007 is expected to be essentially the same bill Pelosi put forth [in 2006].
That is bad news for the First Amendment and for preserving the kind of healthy, open debate that is essential to holding politicians, bureaucrats and special interests to account for their conduct of the public business.
The key provision of the 2006 bill was its redefinition of grassroots lobbying to include small citizens groups whose messages about Congress and public policy issues are directed toward the general public, according to attorneys for the Free Speech Coalition.
All informational and educational materials produced by such groups would have to be registered and reported on a quarterly basis. Failure to report would result in severe civil penalties (likely followed soon by criminal penalties as well).
In addition, the 2006 bill created a new statutory category of First Amendment activity to be regulated by Congress. Known as “grassroots lobbying firms,” these groups would be required to register with Congress and be subject to penalties whenever they are paid $50,000 or more to communicate with the general public during any three-month period.
In other words, for the first time in American history, potentially millions of concerned citizens involved in grassroots lobbying and representing viewpoints from across the entire political spectrum would have to register with Congress in order to exercise their First Amendment rights.
...the Pelosi-Claybrook proposal includes loopholes big enough to protect Big Labor, Big Corporations and Big Nonprofits, as well as guys with Big Wallets like George Soros...
Saturday, January 6, 2007
A column by Mark Tapscott in the Washington Examiner is a good guide to behind-the-scenes efforts to hush the input ordinary citizens and grassroots organizations have on Congress: