Tuesday, January 16, 2007

The New Congress' assault on free speech

No matter how high-minded the Congress seeks to claim its goals really are, the fact remains that onerous regulation of political groups and lobbyists is simply an attempt to limit the ability of these groups to exercise their free speech rights. NewsMax describes a Trojan Horse in the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007 that was largely drafted by Public Citizen, a left-wing group:

[The Bill] changes [ ] the legal definition of "grass-roots lobbying" and requires any organization that encourages 500 or more members of the general public to contact their elected representatives to file a report with detailed information about their organization to the government on a quarterly basis.

Such a report (above) would require, among other things, the detailing of the organization's expenditures, the issues focused on and the members of Congress and other federal officials who are targeted. A separate report must address each policy issue the group is advocating.

Causing additional heartburn among the critics of the new law is a broad exemption they say is wholly unfair and unbalanced. Significantly, the reporting requirement spelled out above would not apply to messages targeted at an organization's members, employees, officers or shareholders. In effect, this would let most corporations, trade associations and unions off the reporting hook.

Thus, the legislation would harm the most effective conservative organizations by forcing them to comply with burdensome regulations, but would exempt the Left's best political drum-beaters -- the unions.

Of course, John McCain favors the bill.

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