From: alra@governance.net
Subject: Senate To Vote On Censorship On Internet – Call Today!

Land Rights Network
American Land Rights Association
PO Box 400 - Battle Ground, WA 98604
Phone: 360-687-3087 - FAX: 360-687-2973
Email: alra@governance.net or alra@pacifier.com
Web Address: http://www.landrights.org
Legislative Office: 507 Seward Square SE - Washington, DC 20003

Senate To Vote On Censorship On Internet – Call Today!

S 2128 Attacks Grassroots Lobbying

See Action Items Below:

From the Washington Times

      Lawmakers have addiction to power
      By Richard A. Viguerie
      Published March 6, 2006

      *****The proposed regulation of the grassroots, under such soothing titles 
      as "Honest Leadership and Open Government Act," would result in that most 
      un-American of all concepts: censorship of political speech.*****

          Only a Congress addicted to power would try to blame its internal 
      corruption problems on too much citizen participation in politics. Addicts 
      often blame others for their addictions. Congress is no exception, based 
      on several legislative proposals to "fix" its own internal ethics 

          Congress' ethics problems involve money and gifts for political 
      favors, a reflection of Congress' addiction to power. Rather than curing 
      the cause of corruption, proposed lobbying reform bills would regulate 
      "grassroots lobbying." 

      That's the term given to citizen involvement in 
      matters of public policy, and it is the antithesis of corruption in 
      Washington. Grassroots lobbying involves multiple rights 
      protected by the First Amendment speech: the "press" via the U.S. mail and 
      the Internet, petitions, and fostering associations of citizens. 

          Washington is about power. Power is addictive, and it corrupts. Those 
      who have power fear losing it. Legislators will often seek creative ways 
      to silence their critics and curtail their critics' involvement in 
      politics. Independent grassroots causes inherently threaten incumbents' 
      power by empowering citizens. 

      Some in Congress would pre-empt critics by 
      imposing prior restraints with burdensome quarterly reporting, making 
      grassroots lobbying too expensive for small and unpopular causes. 

          The proposed regulation of the grassroots, under such soothing titles 
      as "Honest Leadership and Open Government Act," would result in that most 
      un-American of all concepts: censorship of political speech. 

          Grassroots lobbying differs from other press communications by being 
      interactive, allowing citizens to speak back. Grassroots causes allow 
      citizens to assemble across the country on matters of importance to them. 
      Many incumbents are threatened by independent grassroots causes that hold 
      them accountable. Those incumbents prefer to control the message through 
      their own communications, and prefer not to compete for contributions 
      against grassroots critics, especially from their "own side." 

          In 1965, when I opened my direct mail agency, there were just the 
      three television broadcast networks, and there was no cable television. 
      The New York Times had long branded itself as containing "all the news 
      that's fit to print," and no Fox News was in existence to dispute that 

          Because the Fairness Doctrine mandated "equal time," radio stations 
      would not venture much into political talk radio. The Internet was not 
      invented, and many of today's bloggers weren't even born yet. With no 
      competition from the new or alternative media, news in 1965 was quite 
      limited by today's standards. 

          While difficult to comprehend today, since many candidates now brand 
      themselves as conservative, 40 years ago conservatism was a small dissent 
      movement on the sidelines of politics. Conservative activists were 
      convinced, however, that the people were more conservative than their 
      elected officials in Washington. We had neither access to the cameras and 
      microphones of the networks nor insider tracks with journalists. We were 
      confident, though, that if Americans heard the message of conservatism, 
      the strength of that message would win out in the marketplace of ideas. 

          Commercial direct marketers had achieved success in expanding their 
      audiences by using printing presses and computerized databases of names. 
      Conservatives needed to convey their message to the grassroots via some 
      mass medium, so I studied the giants of direct marketing and applied their 
      methods to grassroots causes. 

          I started building the equivalent of newspaper subscriber files for 
      grassroots causes by mailing millions of letters. Causes appealed to 
      citizens for small-dollar contributions, often just $5 to $25. 

          Citizens who associated with the causes would receive subsequent 
      mailings. This grassroots format was soon copied by thousands of 
      nonprofit organizations and political committees across the political 
      spectrum. Grassroots communications now reach tens of millions of 
      citizens of all ideologies and interests, transforming and transcending 
      politics. The marketplace of ideas has given new and unpopular causes a 

          The 18th-century English jurist William Blackstone said that the 
      liberty of the press guarantees the right to fearlessly advance new 
      doctrines and point out errors in the "measures of public men." Our First       Amendment comes from such principles, which is why Congress must not pass 
      laws that abridge those rights. 
          Richard A. Viguerie is chairman of ConservativeHQ.com and co-author of 
      "America's Right Turn: How Conservatives Used New and Alternative Media to 
      Take Power." 

      Copyright © 2006 News World Communications, Inc. All rights reserved.
            Copyright The Washington Times  

Senate Largely Lets Themselves Off The Hook – Attacks Grassroots Groups Instead.

All grassroots activists must contact your Senators.  The next few days could change the future for all grassroots groups across America.

Action Items:

-----1.  Call both your Senators everyday Wednesday  through Friday to oppose section 107, 110, and other restricts on citizens who wish to contact their legislators.  The bad requirements in S. 2128 that will penalize grassroots groups and let big money outfits off the hook.   The big money outfits will gain a huge advantage that will hurt you.   The bill eliminates some restrictions on the Senators themselves. You may both your Senators at (202) 224-3121.  

-----2.  Ask for your Senators fax number and send him a fax.

-----3.  Call at least three other people to get them to call and fax.

Time is urgent.  You must take action immediately.


Grassroots groups took it right on the chin at Thursday’s session of the U.S. Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.

The Senators exempted themselves from some rules while imposing vast new rules on grassroots groups across America.  Every grassroots group will be tied up in regulatory knots if S. 2128 passes Congress. 

The meeting was held to markup S. 2128 – the Lobbying Transparency and Accountability Act of 2005 that was introduced by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ). At the markup, a bill that embodied many of the elements of the McCain bill was substituted by Senator Susan Collins (R-ME), the Chairman of the Committee, and Senator Joseph Lieberman (D-CT). Collins-Lieberman is designed to stiffen reporting requirements of lobbyists and to limit what they can do. 

Senators Carl Levin (D-MI) and Joseph Lieberman (D-CT) introduced an amendment that embodied the elements of a troublesome provision in the McCain bill which was not originally included in Collins-Lieberman. It was Section 105 of the McCain bill. Levin-Lieberman passed the committee with three Republicans – Ted Stevens (R-AK), George Voinovich (R-OH), and Lincoln Chafee (R-RI) – having voted for it.   

The problem is that, under Levin-Lieberman, grassroots groups are placed at a real disadvantage in Levin-Lieberman because their contractors will be saddled with detailed and burdensome reporting requirements of activities such as direct mailings and phone bank calling. The disclosure may even occur perhaps even before the activity has taken place.

Affluent, well-heeled associations and special interests can easily meet the reporting requirements without much trouble. However, the contractors of grassroots groups will in effect be required, in effect, to tip off what often may be their better heeled opponents as to what will be their strategies and tactics. The better heeled opposition, more than likely, will be able to react much faster and bring more force to bear in terms of money.  

Congress should be encouraging Grassroots America to contact their elected representatives, not pass regulations that discourage such activity.    

Collins-Lieberman with the Levin-Lieberman amendment on grassroots lobbying reporting will likely hit the Senate floor next week. The Collins-Lieberman bill will probably include legislation to strip earmarks.
Grassroots groups that advocate issues of concern to home schoolers, property rights advocates, defenders of life and traditional values, and the right to keep and bear arms all have a vested interest in speaking up loudly and clearly to let Washington know that they should not be saddled with troublesome and burdensome reporting regulations. 

Grassroots groups and their leaders need to start speaking up now for their right to have unfettered communications with their members.  The Levin-Lieberman Amendment is not healthy for grassroots groups, citizen participation and freedom of political speech.  Uncle Sam should not be whispering into the ears of big special interest groups about what conservative grassroots groups are doing.       
Lieberman, joined by Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich, was successful in winning approval of an amendment that would require paid lobbyists to reveal information about grassroots lobbying, helping clients to encourage the general public, through mass mailings or advertising, to contact federal officials. Smaller grassroots lobbying efforts aimed at 500 people or less would be exempt.

(Basic message edited from FreeCongress.org release.)  

Please forward as widely as possible.  Please make those calls.  This is a big deal.

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