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If you criticize Congress, you must now report it to them

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posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 12:08 PM
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From WorldNetDaily:


The Senate is considering legislation that would regulate grassroots communications, with penalties for critics of Congress.
"In what sounds like a comedy sketch from Jon Stewart's Daily Show, but isn't, the U. S. Senate would impose criminal penalties, even jail time, on grassroots causes and citizens who criticize Congress," says Richard A. Viguerie, chairman of GrassrootsFreedom.com

Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill before the Senate, would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to Congress, as lobbyists are required.

"Section 220 would amend existing lobbying reporting law by creating the most expansive intrusion on First Amendment rights ever," Viguerie said.

For the first time in history, he stated, critics of Congress will need to register and report with Congress itself.


What kind of new crap is this? Does the First Ammendment mean nothing anymore? What makes the Senate think that they can just override free speech?

Free speech is just that: Free, as in without retribution, as in without accountability, as in it don't cost you nothin.

Let's just hope this is WorldNutDaily's typical, hit-getting propaganda and not the real thing.

And yes, that means YOU- individual bloggers, assemblies, groups, the works. So not only are they planning to eradicate their critics, here's the law that'll let them sit back and collect info on all their targets. Unbelievable.

And oh, excuse me while I send an email to the White House.

[edit on 18-1-2007 by TrueAmerican]




posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 12:11 PM
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We have back up about this from today's Anonymous Posters.



Original Anonymous Post By: anon_87197
GrassrootsFreedom.com...

MANASSAS, Va., Jan. 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is a
statement by Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of GrassrootsFreedom.com,
regarding legislation currently being considered by Congress to regulate
grassroots communications:
"In what sounds like a comedy sketch from Jon Stewart's Daily Show, but
isn't, the U. S. Senate would impose criminal penalties, even jail time, on
grassroots causes and citizens who criticize Congress.
"Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill currently before the
Senate, would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to
500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report
quarterly to Congress the same as the big K Street lobbyists. Section 220
would amend existing lobbying reporting law by creating the most expansive
intrusion on First Amendment rights ever. For the first time in history,
critics of Congress will need to register and report with Congress itself.
"The bill would require reporting of 'paid efforts to stimulate
grassroots lobbying,' but defines 'paid' merely as communications to 500 or
more members of the public, with no other qualifiers.
"On January 9, the Senate passed Amendment 7 to S. 1, to create
criminal penalties, including up to one year in jail, if someone 'knowingly
and willingly fails to file or report.'
"That amendment was introduced by Senator David Vitter (R-LA). Senator
Vitter, however, is now a co-sponsor of Amendment 20 by Senator Robert
Bennett (R-UT) to remove Section 220 from the bill. Unless Amendment 20
succeeds, the Senate will have criminalized the exercise of First Amendment
rights. We'd be living under totalitarianism, not democracy.
"I started GrassrootsFreedom.com to fight efforts to silence the
grassroots. The website provides updates in the legislation and has a
petition to sign opposing Section 220.
"Thousands of nonprofit leaders, bloggers, and other citizens have
hammered the Senate with calls in opposition to Section 220, which seeks to
silence the grassroots. The criminal provisions will scare citizens into
silence.
"The legislation regulates small, legitimate nonprofits, bloggers, and
individuals, but creates loopholes for corporations, unions, and large
membership organizations that would be able to spend literally hundreds of millions of dollars, yet not report.

GrassrootsFreedom.com...




I strongly recommend members troll through the anonymous posts regularly, there a some nice gems on a regular basis.



posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 12:45 PM
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I haven't researched this in full except to verify the accuracy. It sounds like the stupidest bill ever, what is it's goal?? It will create an unbelievable amount of paperwork and limits the little guy once again as to how much say we have in OUR govt. I thought Nancy Pelosi would be a good thing for Congress, but I DON'T like this proposal and I DON"T like that she has taken "impeachment off the table". I feel betrayed. It seems as if there's no changes, the govt will still be trying to curtail our freedoms and rights. This bill is just plain un-American, it favors corporations and other huge groups with power, but not individuals or grassroots organizations. I'm angry about this.



posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 12:46 PM
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Originally posted by SkepticOverlord
I strongly recommend members troll through the anonymous posts regularly, there a some nice gems on a regular basis.


Yep, thanks for that SO, and I do check the anon board regularly. But I can't for the life of me figure out how to respond to a post in anon, back in the original thread...That whole system still eludes me.

But back on topic, I am wondering how, with a Democratic majority in both the House and Senate, the Reps plan on getting this passed. Surely the Dems aren't gonna go for this?



posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 12:51 PM
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Originally posted by TrueAmerican
Free speech is just that: Free, as in without retribution, as in without accountability, as in is it don't cost you nothin.


Yes, it's free. And this bill is only for PAID Grassroots efforts.



SEC. 220. DISCLOSURE OF PAID EFFORTS TO STIMULATE GRASSROOTS LOBBYING.
S1 Section 220




Let's just hope this is WorldNutDaily's typical, hit-getting propaganda and not the real thing.


I'm pretty sure it is.



posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 12:55 PM
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You miss this?:
From Skeptic's post:

"The bill would require reporting of 'paid efforts to stimulate
grassroots lobbying,' but defines 'paid' merely as communications to 500 or more members of the public, with no other qualifiers.


And that right there means every single member of ATS. Cause surely anything you post here is exposed to more than 500 readers.



posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 12:59 PM
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They don't define "paid" as communications to 500 or more members of the public. That's the part that WND added. They don't define it at all. They just say "paid". Read through the section.

Unless ATS is a "REGISTRANT", there's no problem.

The problem is that they don't define "registrant"...

[edit on 18-1-2007 by Benevolent Heretic]



posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 01:13 PM
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Whoever writes this legislation should be fired. Or worse. :shk:



(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.


Emphasis mine

As explained in section (B) above, the thing about "less than 500" is that even if you get paid, if you only attempt to influence 500 people, you still don't have to register.

The line that has me baffled is the last line above. Basically, section (C) states that (bolded above):

"A person is a member of a registrant if the person is ... an employee, officer, director or member of the entity."

So, a person is a member of a registrant if the person is a member of an entity.



Like I said, these people should be fired.



posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 01:53 PM
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If this is a representative example of how legislation is written in this country, it is no wonder we are in so much trouble.

I'm not even going to touch section (C) REGISTRANT... it looks like the author was getting paid by the number of uses of the word 'entity'... not worrying about if it makes any sense.

But even the "less than 500" thing is a loophole you could drive a truck through... I can see it now:

Announcing the creation of Mega-Lobby Corp. "Influencing 499 people nationwide".

As we can see, Mega-Lobby Corp. is only 'attempting' to influence 499 people. And hey, if more are influenced, it is hardly the fault of M-LC!



posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 02:01 PM
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The sections of the legislation in question, if I am not mistaken, are as follows:



...

`Lobbying activities include paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying, but do not include grassroots lobbying.';

...

`(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), ...


(8) Lobbying contact
(A) Definition
The term “lobbying contact” means any oral or written communication (including an electronic communication) to a covered executive branch official or a covered legislative branch official that is made on behalf of a client with regard to—
(i) the formulation, modification, or adoption of Federal legislation (including legislative proposals);
(ii) the formulation, modification, or adoption of a Federal rule, regulation, Executive order, or any other program, policy, or position of the United States Government;
(iii) the administration or execution of a Federal program or policy (including the negotiation, award, or administration of a Federal contract, grant, loan, permit, or license); or
(iv) the nomination or confirmation of a person for a position subject to confirmation by the Senate.
except that such term does not include any communications by an entity directed to its members, employees, officers, or shareholders.
Source

... 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.
Source


I believe I can help elucidate some people's concerns with regard to this legislation. Unless I am misinterpreting the above, which is quite possible as always, this legislation appears to require annual or, in some cases, quarterly reporting to congress with regard to grassroots lobbying activities if those activities meet the following criteria:

1) That they be paid lobbying activities, defined above as any attempt to facilitate or support contact or communication between congress and other members of government if that support or facilitation is conducted by enlisting or influencing 500 or more members of the general public.
2) That they seek to influence or spur the formulation, modification, or adoption of Federal legislation (including legislative proposals,) the formulation, modification, or adoption of a Federal rule, regulation, Executive order, or any other program, policy, or position of the United States Government, the administration or execution of a Federal program or policy (including the negotiation, award, or administration of a Federal contract, grant, loan, permit, or license,) or the nomination or confirmation of a person for a position subject to confirmation by the Senate; in short, any attempt to influence legislation, senate confirmations, etc.
3) That they not be between an organization and its shareholders, members, or employees.

In other words, unless I am mistaken - which, to reiterate, is a distinct possibility - this legislation appears to require registration and regular reporting of any support or facilitation of contact between the general population and the government if that support or facilitation involves any money changing hands (even, presumably, purely for the purposes of funding said support or facilitation) whatsoever, and seeks to enlist or influence 500 or more members of the general population (which would seem to be a logical prerequisite for getting anything done, although I could be wrong.)

Meanwhile - again, unless I am mistaken - this legislation appears to place no limits on larger organizations such as corporations with regard to their enlistment of shareholders and employees in any potential efforts to lobby congress. This apparent double standard is why I suspect some people are deeply concerned. Unless I am mistaken in my interpretation of this legislation, I myself am now one of those people.

If I am mistaken, I would appreciate being told, as it is not my wish to jump to conclusions. I am not prone to assumption or hysterics, and my mind is open to alternative interpretations.



posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 02:05 PM
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Why isn't the title of this thread "If you criticize Congress, you must now report it to them?"



posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 02:20 PM
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I started a thread about this yesterday when a friend of mine called me. He was very upset about the 1st ammendment implications. I read it and I don't see any problems with the first ammendment.
1. Grassroots lobbying is not included in this bill. As defined in this bill what I am doing here right now could be called "grassroots lobbying" and it is clearly excluded.
2. As I read it reporting is only neccissary if money changes hands. If money changes hands disclosure has already happened in the form of tax records.
I see this bill as an attempt to get transparency in the lobbying process. When money changes hands the money supplier would be identified. No more bait and switch in electorial campaigns.



posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 02:40 PM
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How can you blame Bush for this? Not only is he not in the Senate, but the Senate is controlled by the Democrats. This is merely an extension of the backwards logic of the Senate the produced the McCain-Feingold bill and the brilliant fairness doctrine.

I would say that the Democrats fear criticism far more than the Bush Administration.



posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 02:42 PM
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Obviously something has to be done. There's way too much freedom on the internet. Letting people have a forum for their views, especcially anti-government views sends chills down their spines. Perhaps it will end up like reporting money made in the underground economy largely a farce. The very fact that they are considering it though is informative. Would that control minorities in Congress views on the majority as well?



posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 02:44 PM
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The reason that corporations and larger entities is clear....the Democrats are in control of Congress. By limiting grassroots efforts, the curb the base of conservative appeals to Government by religious or faith-based organizations without touching the more liberal labor organizations.



posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 02:46 PM
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it'll never happen....but imagine a world where our elected officials actually worked for us (because we were there sole source of income)?



posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 02:51 PM
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This would make me criticize them more, just to push the envelope.



posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 02:56 PM
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You guys... this is a great law. I think your misunderstanding something.

Its made to stop lobbying by Big Corporations.



posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 02:57 PM
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What about people that attack Congress outside of America?



posted on Jan, 18 2007 @ 03:03 PM
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I've been visiting this site for a couple of years and have been a registered member for quite some time. However this is my first post, so bear with me.

I homeschool my kids and recently received an e-mail from a local homeschool support group. In this e-mail was a letter from the president of the Home School Legal Defense Association, which is a national, “nonprofit advocacy organization established to defend and advance the constitutional right of parents to direct the education of their children and to protect family freedoms.” Basically they keep an eye on legal happenings that could impact homeschoolers and provide legal assistance to families who are defending their rights.

The letter follows:

January 11, 2007

HSLDA: Urgent Calls Needed to Protect
Grassroots Lobbying from Federal Control

Dear HSLDA Members and Friends,

We need you to call your U.S. senators to fight efforts to place
federal control over virtually all grassroots lobbying activity. This
means that all organizations and groups that encourage people to call
their congressmen, including homeschool support groups, will be
subject to registration and reporting to Congress.

Section 220 of Senate Bill 1 (S. 1), the "Legislative Transparency and
Accountability Act of 2007," redefines lobbying to include "paid
efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying." Organizations that engage
in grassroots lobbying will have to comply with all federal lobbying
disclosure laws, including registration with Congress and the filing
of quarterly reports to Congress. Failure to comply would result in a
fine of up to $100,000.

Currently, organizations do not need to report grassroots lobbying,
which is when they contact their membership and the public or engage
in some action that encourages people to call their federally elected
officials. However, if Section 220 is included in S. 1, federal
lobbying laws would apply to all groups that spend money to reach more
than 500 people with a message urging them to contact their elected
officials. For example, if a church or homeschool support group has a
paid employee who emails more than 500 people asking them to call
Congress about some issue, or puts an article on the Internet that is
likely to reach more than 500 people, the church or homeschool support
group would be subject to federal lobbying laws.

Senate Bill 1 is a bipartisan bill and contains much-needed
congressional reforms. Section 220, however, is not needed. It is
unacceptable for Congress to attempt to require groups that encourage
grassroots lobbying to be subject to registration and reporting to
Congress.

ACTION REQUESTED

Senator Robert Bennett has introduced an amendment cosponsored by
Senator Mitch McConnell to strike section 220 from S. 1. The
amendment could come up for a vote on the floor of the Senate as early
as next Tuesday. Please call your U.S. senators and urge them to
support the Bennett amendment (amendment 20) to S. 1. It is not
necessary to identify yourself as a homeschooler.

Your message can be as simple as: "I am very concerned about the
grassroots lobbying provisions in section 220 of Senate Bill 1, the
'Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007.' Please
support the Bennett amendment to remove section 220 from S. 1.
Organizations should not have to register with Congress in order to
ask citizens to contact their elected officials."

You can reach your U.S. senators by calling the U.S. Capitol
Switchboard at (202) 224-3121, or by using our legislative toolbox at
www.hslda.org... .

Thank you for standing for liberty.

Sincerely,

J. Michael Smith
President, HSLDA

Now, take out the word “homeschool” and insert any other group (disabled persons, workplace rights, child advocacy, etc.) and it gives you an idea of how this affects everyone.



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