It’s nearly 4 AM and I’m suffering from a spate of insomnia. It’s hard to sleep when you’re spitting nails. You probably are too, or soon will be …
See if you can wrap your mind around the latest travesty that is seeking to pass itself off as Constitutional legislation. I’ve been having a lot of trouble absorbing the extent of the evil embodied in the democrats’ most recent assault on my, and your, inalienable rights. My mind prefers to be in a state of denial about this one. Accepting it would be tantamount to an admission that I no longer wield any power at all in the political arena, and that the final nail has been driven into the coffin of government ‘of, by and for the people’.
As if the McCain-Feingold ‘Campaign Finance Reform’ bill weren’t a despicable enough example of the left’s determination to suppress the voice of the average citizen in the political process, the new democrat-controlled senate has introduced yet another assault on the First Amendment -- at least that portion of it that guarantees free speech to the average citizen, and those grassroots organizations that attempt to work in his behalf. As is generally the case, the big guys are exempt from the chains that are being prescribed for you and me.
The ‘grassroots lobbying’ section of newly introduced U.S. Senate Bill 1 (Section 220) contains burdensome reporting requirements, mandatory on a quarterly basis, for just the kinds of grassroots groups that have organized to look out for you and me. And there are civil fines of up to $100,000 if they fail to comply with the new federal dictates.
Under Senate Bill 1, any grassroots lobbying organization -- i.e., again, most of the groups that you and I support, and to whom we look for information that the media choose not to publicize or disclose -- would have to report the issues, the names and specifics of their employees, and how much they spend on what is called ‘paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying’ (note that the vagueness of that particular phrase is cavernous).
The groups affected are defined as ‘any organizations that encourage five hundred or more members of the general public to contact Congress’ (*gasp!* -- we can’t have the American people contacting Congress! That would lead to the dreaded ‘A-word’ – accountability).
This massive and burdensome reporting requirement will kick in if the organization plans to do one of two things: (1) request a face-to-face or written communication, regarding a question or concern about public policy, with someone in the executive or legislative branch, or (2) encourage citizens to contact the executive or legislative branch (again, ‘encouraging’ is not defined, so the wording leaves significant room for interpretation by those on the Hill, and their buddies in the judiciary, who want to silence any opposition, or any group that seeks to make public what is going on within the walls of the senate, house, or the administration).
There is no minimum dollar spending floor. Any grassroots organization that attempts to arouse the citizenry to thought or action, or merely seeks to inform, will be expected to jump through a myriad of expensive and time-consuming bureaucratic hoops -- so many of them that a significant number of these groups will become severely financially strained. They will be forced to keep detailed records of expenditures on informing the public about any issue: their consulting fees, printing or broadcast/telecast costs, postage, advertising, personnel, etc.
Obviously, the cost of meeting these bureaucratic regulations will be prohibitive. And that is precisely the reason for this proposed legislation: to keep you and me from learning those tyrannical, unconstitutional legislative travesties of which the 'powers that be' would prefer we remain ignorant.
Perhaps the unkindest cut of all is contained in the fact that the bill makes broad exemptions for larger, organized groups who employ paid lobbyists – those who don’t rely primarily on grassroots communication to get their messages out (i.e., unions, large corporations, etc.) The Teamsters, the NEA, AARP, moveon.org, and other leftist ‘membership’ groups will not fall under the bill’s bureaucratic mandates.
Ain’t that convenient for those in ‘leadership’ positions who believe the Constitution is outmoded – i.e., would-be tyrants, one-world agenda adherents, and elitists?
I would suggest that we all call or e-mail our senators and voice our outrage, but it will take a major activist movement to stop this particular steamroller. And, since most of the grassroots movements that will be suffocated (some of them even extinguished) under this bill came into being precisely because the media is failing to inform, you can bet that this particular bill will be kept under tight wraps by those very same media. Negligent journalism, at best – conspiratorial, more likely.
Welcome to Amerika.