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Eagle Forum Alert
May 14, 2007

UPDATE: On May 24th, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 (H.R. 2316) by a vote of 396-22 (Roll Call 423). Fortunately, the final bill did not contain the Meehan grassroots lobbying language, due to its defeat during the committee mark-up the previous week.
Undemocratic Democrats Push to Curb Citizen Participation

Urge Your Representative to Oppose the Meehan Grassroots "Lobbying" Bill

Reports on the success of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and her "First 100 Hours" agenda certainly have proved to be much-ado about nothing! House Democrats vowed to make lobbying and ethics reform a top priority for the 110th Congress, but they continue to delay. So far, only one bill has been introduced. It targets not only grassroots organizations like Eagle Forum, but it also aims to limit American citizens' constitutional right to petition the government!

Sponsored by Representative Martin T. Meehan (D-MA), H.R. 2093 will amend the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 to provide for additional reporting by lobbying firms, and it will broaden the definition of what constitutes "lobbying" to include grassroots groups. This is the first time Congress has ever regulated grassroots activity through lobbying disclosure. This bill is dangerous! It jeopardizes the American people's right to freely voice their opinions in two ways:

  • Regulates communications activity by applying penalties, such as large civil fines and possibly jail time, for failure to completely comply with guidelines.

  • Redefines "lobbying activity" to apply to members of the public who exercise their constitutional right to express their views on matters of public policy to their elected officials.

While this proposed bill is somewhat narrower than the provision which was scratched from the Senate's version of ethics reform (S. 1) earlier this year, it still attempts to regulate free speech. The 1995 Act already protects against expanding grassroots regulations. Even the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled against the regulation of "grassroots" communications under a prior lobbying registration law. It held twice that "lobbying activity" must be construed to mean direct contact with Congress, not indirect contact via paid communications and direct mail.

Congress cannot constitutionally regulate ideas! Citizens have a right to contact their elected representatives on any issue of concern and to encourage others to do so as well. Grassroots groups, like Eagle Forum, have the right to inform the public of important policy issues. As a free society, we cherish these rights and freedoms! Any attempt to deny this right is a threat to democracy! A committee mark-up is expected at any time. Call your Representative today!

Take Action

  • Call your Representative's office and let them know you expect them to vote NO on H.R. 2093!

Call Your Representative Today!

Capitol Switchboard: (202) 224-3121

 
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