Saturday, January 13, 2007

"Stop Bothering Me!"

To: Friends and Supporters

From: Gary L. Bauer, Chairman
Campaign for Working Families

Date: Wednesday, January 10, 2007

“Stop Bothering Me!”

That’s the message members of Congress are sending to the American people
with a proposed lobbying reform bill under consideration right now. In a
symbolic gesture reacting to the Abramoff scandals, Senate Majority Leader
Harry Reid made the lobbying reform legislation the first bill on the
calendar. But S. 1 contains a provision that appears aimed directly at the
American people. Seeking to silence criticism, section 220 of S. 1
includes burdensome new reporting requirements for grassroots organizations
that attempt to inform the American people about the important issues under
debate in Congress. Any communication, such as this daily report, to more
than 500 people that seeks to stimulate grassroots lobbying, defined as
“the voluntary efforts of members of the general public to communicate
their own views on an issue to federal officials,” would have to be
reported to the government. Failure to do so could result in huge fines,
which could bankrupt many pro-family organizations.

While I’m not opposed to transparency in government, the reasoning behind
this provision is extremely obtuse. Members of Congress are simply sick
and tired of hearing from you, and they are hoping that groups like ours
will stop asking you to call and email if we are faced with endless
reporting requirements and draconian fines. So, even though Jack Abramoff
has gone to jail, some politicians in Congress are trying to use “lobbying
reform” as an excuse to silence the American people!

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