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EMERGENCY ALERT ! ! !
 

LOBBY REFORM BILL CRIPPLES FREE SPEECH

By Rev. Ted Pike
10 Jan 07

Last year the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith reeled from a tidal wave of public protest to their "anti-hate bill." Now a coalition of powerful pro-hate bill senators, led by Carl Levin and Joe Lieberman plus Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi, House Speaker, are attempting to pass legislation that will severely hamper such citizen activism.

Levin and Lieberman's hidden agenda is contained as Sec. 220 within the newest version of the lobbying reform bill: S.1, The Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007.

Dr. Dobson Warns Us

Dr. James Dobson's alert of last year remains urgent: "Senator McCain, who authorized the Lobby Reform Bill did not include language that put constraints on grassroots activists, but Senators Joe Lieberman and Carl Levin added an amendment to do just that." 1

Keri Houston, spokesperson for The Lobby Sense, explains what Levin and Lieberman added:

"Specific provisions of these bills would diminish the citizen voice and significantly reduce the ability of grassroots organizations to continue to express and promote the people's will... The legislation defines grassroots lobbying as any attempt to influence the public... Legions of citizen organizations, small businesses, and even individuals would become subject to onerous registration and reporting requirements, simply because they were trying to motivate the public to support a position or a point of view." 2

Solution in Search of a Problem

Especially after the Abramoff bribery scandal, it is proper for Sen. McCain's bill, as it was originally written, to address lobbying abuses. Yet, America does not have a problem with too much public concern and activism at the grassroots level. Just the opposite. Civic apathy, not activism, is the overwhelming threat to freedom. Nor does grassroots activism have any significant history of graft and scandal.

Liberal Jewish activists Levin and Leiberman don't see it that way. After all, three times in the past two years grassroots America has helped defeat ADL's cherished federal hate bill. We voted down same-sex marriage. We forced NBC to cancel its blasphemous program "The Book of Daniel."

In reaction, Levin and Lieberman want grassroots America subject to the suspicions and restrictions imposed on federal lobbyists and members of Congress. How do they propose to legislate such restrictions? In Sec. 220 they define "grassroots lobbying" as the act of communicating your views to the government. If you make a call to Congress expressing your point of view, you are involved in grassroots lobbying.

Levin and Lieberman would permit such local activism, at least for now. But if an individual or an organization encourages calls to members of Congress from as few as 500 people and receives donations or payments toward that end totaling $25,000 during a 3-month period, they will have to register with the federal government as a "grassroots lobbyist firm." ($25,000 is not enough to purchase a full-page ad in a major newspaper.) They will also have to file extensive reports to satisfy federal curiosity concerning who gave, how much, how it was dispersed, for what cause, etc.

One of the most disturbing provisions of this bill is that anyone who pays dues or makes contributions to the grassroots lobbyist organization, donates time to it, is involved in its governance, is an honorary or life member, or is an employee, officer, director, or member is considered by the government a member of that organization. This also means that the head of the organization, the one who actually receives or donates $25,000 per quarter, is responsible to report to the government the lobbying activities of those many "members" whose efforts are funded by the organization.

Also, members, if they desire to continue to associate with the organization will be expected by the organization to share cost of the possible $100,000 fine if quarterly reports to the government are inaccurate or not on time.

The implication of this is catastrophic to grassroots lobbying organizations such as Christian conservative political action groups and politically active churches. Many organizations will be unwilling to be held accountable for the paid lobbying activities of their members. Many members will decline to support or be associated with grassroots lobbying organizations for fear of being expected to share the cost of huge federal penalties if the organization does not please the state.

How will many politically active churches, who lobby against abortion, same-sex marriage, etc. finally respond? Many will decide it’s not worth the hassle and forsake moral issues and political activism altogether. In other words, they will just "preach the gospel" (as they did in the pre-Reagan era) and let the liberals run the country.

What Do ADL/Levin/Lieberman Really Want?

These liberal Jewish activists, along with the Jewish Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, want to end Christian/conservative activism in America. They also want to establish an Orwellian thought crimes bureaucracy similar to Canada's, eradicating free speech. They resent the power of the common man to thwart legislation vital to their objectives. They want to diminish the power of grassroots America to protest, and be protected in such protest by the First Amendment.

But this is only the beginning. Although it is necessary to restrict high-powered professional lobbyists in Washington, D.C., if we give the government power to hamstring local, modestly paid grassroots activists today, government will demand the right to do the same to unpaid activists tomorrow.

This is the situation in Canada under ADL/B'nai B'rith's hate law passed in 1971. In Canada one does not just speak his mind, even to a Member of Parliament. He looks to see if a policeman is watching or listening. He asks, "Is my opinion tolerant enough? Will some federally protected group be offended, reporting me to the hate crimes gestapo? I could be fined $5,000 for an honest but careless remark and go to prison if I continue to make such statements."

Several years ago a Canadian citizen did not properly ponder such issues. He sent an email to his MP in Parliament, critical of illegal aliens. The MP judged that this unregulated "citizen lobbyist" was holding up a protected minority to contempt. He had the man arrested for violation of Canada's federal hate law.

ADL's Long-Term Goal

ADL, Levin and Leiberman want Americans as intimidated as Canadians. They want us so fearful of our own government that an ADL-dominated thought crimes bureaucracy can pass whatever legislation it wants, unrestrained by citizen protests. Right now ADL and their lackeys, Nancy Pelosi in the House and Harry Reid in the Senate, desire to pass a federal hate crimes law that will take America in the same direction as Canada.

Will they succeed? It depends on how loudly we the people speak out. Here's what you can do today:

The Senate will probably vote on the lobby reform bill this Thursday. Call your Senators now at 1-202-224-3121 or toll-free: 1-877-851-6437 or 1-866-340-9281. Tell them: "Please don't vote for the lobby reform bill, S.1. Its Section 220 stifles free speech by placing heavy reporting requirements on local grassroots lobbyists. These are not guilty of corruption and should not be restricted."

www.truthtellers.orgwill soon post a powerful brochure that you can send to House members and their legislative aides. There is a chance that even if the Senate passes this oppressive legislation we can stop it in the House.

Take Action Now! Next Week May Be Too Late!

Endnotes:

1 Focus on the Family press release, "Lobby Reform Bill Would Restrict Grassroots Activism," March 6, 2006.
2 "Congress Set to Muzzle the Citizen Activist," Keri Houston, The Lobby Sense Coalition, February 28, 2006.

Here is Levin and Leiberman’s attempt to stifle grassroots lobbying:

S.1

To provide greater transparency in the legislative process. (Placed on Calendar in Senate)

SEC. 220. DISCLOSURE OF PAID EFFORTS TO STIMULATE GRASSROOTS LOBBYING.

    (a) Definitions- Section 3 of the Act (2 U.S.C. 1602) is amended--
      (1) in paragraph (7), by adding at the end of the following: `Lobbying activities include paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying, but do not include grassroots lobbying.'; and
      (2) by adding at the end of the following:
      `(17) GRASSROOTS LOBBYING- The term `grassroots lobbying' means the voluntary efforts of members of the general public to communicate their own views on an issue to Federal officials or to encourage other members of the general public to do the same.
      `(18) PAID EFFORTS TO STIMULATE GRASSROOTS LOBBYING-
        `(A) IN GENERAL- The term `paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying' means any paid attempt in support of lobbying contacts on behalf of a client to influence the general public or segments thereof to contact one or more covered legislative or executive branch officials (or Congress as a whole) to urge such officials (or Congress) to take specific action with respect to a matter described in section 3(8)(A), except that such term does not include any communications by an entity directed to its members, employees, officers, or shareholders.
        `(B) PAID ATTEMPT TO INFLUENCE THE GENERAL PUBLIC OR SEGMENTS THEREOF- The term `paid attempt to influence the general public or segments thereof' does not include an attempt to influence directed at less than 500 members of the general public.
        `(C) REGISTRANT- For purposes of this paragraph, a person or entity is a member of a registrant if the person or entity--
          `(i) pays dues or makes a contribution of more than a nominal amount to the entity;
          `(ii) makes a contribution of more than a nominal amount of time to the entity;
          `(iii) is entitled to participate in the governance of the entity;
          `(iv) is 1 of a limited number of honorary or life members of the entity; or
          `(v) is an employee, officer, director or member of the entity.
      `(19) GRASSROOTS LOBBYING FIRM- The term `grassroots lobbying firm' means a person or entity that--
        `(A) is retained by 1 or more clients to engage in paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying on behalf of such clients; and
        `(B) receives income of, or spends or agrees to spend, an aggregate of $25,000 or more for such efforts in any quarterly period.'.
    (b) Registration- Section 4(a) of the Act (2 U.S.C. 1603(a)) is amended--
      (1) in the flush matter at the end of paragraph (3)(A), by adding at the end the following: `For purposes of clauses (i) and (ii), the term `lobbying activities' shall not include paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying.'; and
      (2) by inserting after paragraph (3) the following:
      `(4) FILING BY GRASSROOTS LOBBYING FIRMS- Not later than 45 days after a grassroots lobbying firm first is retained by a client to engage in paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying, such grassroots lobbying firm shall register with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives.'.
    (c) Separate Itemization of Paid Efforts To Stimulate Grassroots Lobbying- Section 5(b) of the Act (2 U.S.C. 1604(b)) is amended--
      (1) in paragraph (3), by--
        (A) inserting after `total amount of all income' the following: `(including a separate good faith estimate of the total amount of income relating specifically to paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying and, within that amount, a good faith estimate of the total amount specifically relating to paid advertising)'; and
        (B) inserting `or a grassroots lobbying firm' after `lobbying firm';
      (2) in paragraph (4), by inserting after `total expenses' the following: `(including a good faith estimate of the total amount of expenses relating specifically to paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying and, within that total amount, a good faith estimate of the total amount specifically relating to paid advertising)'; and
      (3) by adding at the end the following:
    `Subparagraphs (B) and (C) of paragraph (2) shall not apply with respect to reports relating to paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying activities.'.
    (d) Good Faith Estimates and De Minimis Rules for Paid Efforts To Stimulate Grassroots Lobbying-
      (1) IN GENERAL- Section 5(c) of the Act (2 U.S.C. 1604(c)) is amended to read as follows:
    `(c) Estimates of Income or Expenses- For purposes of this section, the following shall apply:
      `(1) Estimates of income or expenses shall be made as follows:
        `(A) Estimates of amounts in excess of $10,0000 shall be rounded to the nearest $20,000.
        `(B) In the event income or expenses do not exceed $10,000, the registrant shall include a statement that income or expenses totaled less than $10,000 for the reporting period.
      `(2) Estimates of income or expenses relating specifically to paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying shall be made as follows:
        `(A) Estimates of amounts in excess of $25,000 shall be rounded to the nearest $20,000.
        `(B) In the event income or expenses do not exceed $25,000, the registrant shall include a statement that income or expenses totaled less than $25,000 for the reporting period.'.
      (2) TAX REPORTING- Section 15 of the Act (2 U.S.C. 1610) is amended--
        (A) in subsection (a)--
          (i) in paragraph (1), by striking `and' after the semicolon;
          (ii) in paragraph (2), by striking the period and inserting `; and'; and
          (iii) by adding at the end the following:
      `(3) in lieu of using the definition of paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying in section 3(18), consider as paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying only those activities that are grassroots expenditures as defined in section 4911(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.'; and
        (B) in subsection (b)--
          (i) in paragraph (1), by striking `and' after the semicolon;
          (ii) in paragraph (2), by striking the period and inserting `; and'; and
          (iii) by adding at the end the following:
      `(3) in lieu of using the definition of paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying in section 3(18), consider as paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying only those activities that are grassroots expenditures as defined in section 4911(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.'.

TALK SHOW HOSTS: Interview Rev. Ted Pike immediately! Call 503-631-3808.

 

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