Ethics Reform Bill Excludes “Grassroots” Language

I have discussed this issue several times this year. The Dems lobbying and ethics bill has passed in the Senate, and fortunately

( – The U.S. Senate passed an ethics and lobby reform bill 96-2 on Thursday, and to the relief of conservative advocacy groups, the bill does not include restrictions on grassroots lobbying.

A provision in the Senate's Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007 would have burdened groups such as the American Family Association, the Family Research Council and other pro-life, conservative advocacy groups with new registration and disclosure requirements.

As the American Family Association put it, "members of Congress are tired of getting your e-mails and phone calls, and [the grassroots lobbying provision] is designed to keep information from you that might inspire you to call or write your senator."

Critics – including the liberal American Civil Liberties Union – agreed that Section 220 would infringe on free speech rights.

"If our government is truly one 'of the people, for the people, and by the people,' then the people must be able to disseminate information, contact their representatives, and encourage others to do so as well," the ACLU said on its website.

In the end, the Senate voted 55-43 in favor of an amendment introduced by Sen. Robert Bennett (R-Utah) to strip the grassroots lobbying provision from the larger bill.

"I am pleased we were able to stop this breach of the First Amendment masquerading as lobbying reform," said the Rev. Louis Sheldon, chairman of the Traditional Values Coalition.

Sorry to excerpt so much, but I thought the information was valuable in full. I will be interested to see which 43 Senator critters voted to interfere and deny organizations 1st Amendment Rights. Will probably have to wait till Monday to see the actual vote tally by name.

Look, there is a fine line between lobbying because groups want something, such as a better tax rate or a public works project near their business, and groups wanting redress of grievance. Section 220 would have penalized those who actually wanted redress of grievance, in clear violation of the Constitution. Fortunately, 55 Senator understood that.

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