Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Pelosi Plans New Shackles for Free Speech


So you say you want to be a lobbyist? Well, new House Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to pass a law that may well make you into one, just for speaking out on public issues.

Of course, certain really established lobbyists, the ones with the big checkbooks, would not face any extra restrictions. Instead, you could be slapped with restrictions just for having the nerve of being part of a group who writes letters to your congressman!

For the Mark Taproot story, click WEDNESDAY below....

6 Comments:

Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

WASHINGTON - Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has cooked up with Public Citizen’s Joan Claybrook a “lobbying reform” that actually protects rich
special interests and activists millionaires while clamping new shackles on citizens’ First Amendment rights to petition Congress and speak their minds.

Pelosi tried earlier this year to move H.R. 4682, the “Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2006,” which is now cited by Public Citizen’s Web
site as the vehicle it is helping the incoming speaker to craft for the new Congress. The proposal Claybrook is helping craft for introduction early in 2007 is expected to be essentially the same bill Pelosi put forth this year.

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.

There is even more bad news here, though, because 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. Big Government, you see, always takes care of its big friends.

The Pelosi-Claybrook proposal builds on the restrictions on free speech created by campaign finance reform measures like McCain-Feingold that bar criticism of congressional incumbents for 30 days prior to a primary and 60 days before a general election.

What we are witnessing here is the continuing repeal of the First Amendment.

If Pelosi-Claybrook becomes law in 2007, you can be sure it will be followed by more regulations and restrictions on free speech in 2008 and beyond.

The next steps after forcing grassroots citizen lobbyists to register with Congress will be the steady encroachment of congressional inquisitors into determining whose messages are fit for the public and whose are not. Any guesses on what the officially approved messages will say about things like waste and corruption in government?

Nothing. The inquisitors won’t allow it.

That’s what Big Government does — it keeps getting bigger and bigger and, as Publius noted in The Federalist Papers, no “parchment barrier” like the First Amendment is going to prevent those in power from telling the rest of us how to live.

That’s the lesson forgotten by the Republicans who were given the opportunity of a dozen years to start putting Big Government back in its place and thereby protect individual freedom.

So now we have Nancy Pelosi and Joan Claybrook deciding what kind of grassroots lobbying the rest of us can do.

Washington Examiner editorial page editor Mark Tapscott’s blog is at
www.examiner.com/blogs/tapscotts_copy_desk

5:41 PM, January 10, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Republican congress gave us McCain/Feingold, and Bush grinned from ear to pointy ear when he signed it.

Now this.

Pelosi. Bush. Clinton. McCain. The names don't matter. The label doesn't matter. And the particular issue doesn't matter. Our country is slowly but steadily being stripped from our clenched fists while we are strangled by the two-party con job.

5:47 PM, January 10, 2007  
Anonymous Ford Prefect said...

A nice term found in the Futurological Congress by Stanislaw Lem is "Lubricrat" (one who gives bribes) from the idea of "greasing palms".

10:23 PM, January 10, 2007  
Blogger Mark Moore (Moderator) said...

I just emailed our two senators, have you?
:::::::::::::::::::::::::
To the Honorable David Pryor,

I am writing to encourage you to vote against S.1, which will further suppress free speech and freedom of association in violation of the Constitution. The power to tax is the power to destroy, and by taxing and regulating groups that are formed to watch Congress, Congress can make itself less watched by the grassroots.

Although this communication to you is short, my feelings on this issue are strong. I also believe that it is impossible to square the grassroots provisions of the act with the intent of the Constitution which you swore to uphold.

This nation has gone over 200 years without this legislation, and we can surely go on without it. Some of us can't afford $1,000 a plate dinners for access. We have to join together in grassroots organizations to get access and to know what is going on.

Respectfully,

Mark Moore

6:02 AM, January 11, 2007  
Anonymous GOPin08 said...

Of course Pelosi and Company want to suppress free speech! Conservatives will be denied the right to speak out against their socialism while Pelosi brings her lobbyist friends to D.C. Typical Democrat hypocrisy.

4:35 PM, January 11, 2007  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Republican congress gave us McCain/Feingold, and Bush grinned from ear to pointy ear when he signed it.

Now this.

Pelosi. Bush. Clinton. McCain. The names don't matter. The label doesn't matter. And the particular issue doesn't matter. Our country is slowly but steadily being stripped from our clenched fists while we are strangled by the two-party con job.


Worth repeating

5:13 PM, January 11, 2007  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home