Friday, January 19, 2007

Section 220 S1 or The Sky Was Falling, The Sky Was Falling

"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."

Even James Dobson considered Section 220 a “grave threat” and Focus on the Family launched its first-ever petition drive to oppose it.

The bill defined grassroots lobbying activity as a person engaging in "paid efforts" to encourage the "general public to communicate their own views on an issue to federal officials." That message would have to be sent to at least 500 individuals. The person would also have to spend or receive at least $25,000 related to his or her political efforts over any three-month period in order to trigger the registration requirements.

Mark Fitzgibbons, who runs the advocacy site that opposed Section 220, argued that would mean a political blogger who raised $25,000 to run a political advertisement in The New York Times would be forced to register with the government.

Latest - The U.S. Senate has rejected a proposal that may have required some political bloggers to register as lobbyists or face prison time.

Whew!! Dobson and I dodged another lobbying bullet.

Now that political blog-lobbers will not be forced to register paid efforts, please send KAB a quarterly $24,999 (just to be on the safe side) - so's KAB can run an anti-political something ad in the local paper (circ. 300) ... and "stimulate" my grassyroots.

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