Grassroots Activism Restrictions
Stripped From Senate Bill (S.1)
An e-letter produced by EdWatch, a nonprofit organization. See Index
January 19, 2007
Last night by a vote of 55 to 43, the U.S. Senate stripped the grassroots lobbying restrictions from the Ethics Reform Bill (S.1). The grassroots alarm over what would have been a direct violation of the inalienable right of citizens to petition their government rang out across the country from groups that span the political spectrum. The grassroots power to stop this clear assault on freedom demonstrates why Section 220 of S.1 was so insidious. The very right to engage in this form of citizen lobbying was targeted.
The issue of when reporting kicks in was hotly debated prior to the vote with the public at large and also on the Senate floor. Sen. Robert Bennett [R-Utah] entered this information into the Congressional Record:
Those four criteria are these:
- "Some defenders of Section 220 say that these requirements would apply only if the activist is an employee of an organization that spends more than $10,000 in a calendar quarter on such ``grassroots lobbying activity.'' Regrettably, they are mistaken--that may have been the intent, but it is not the language of Section 220...under Section 220, even $1 per quarter spent to ``stimulate'' citizens to communicate with their representatives in Congress triggers the registration and reporting requirement, for an individual who meets the other four numbered criteria in our previous paragraph."
- "If Section 220 is enacted, the activist will learn that she must register with the federal government as a ``lobbyist'' and file quarterly reports detailing her efforts to stimulate ``grassroots lobbying,'' of any dollar amount, if (l) she is paid any sort of salary, (2) spends more than 20 percent of her time on such grassroots activities, (3) presents the motivating communications to more than 500 persons who are not paying members of the organization, and (4) has communicated with a congressional office or Executive Branch official more than once during a calendar quarter (for example, by sending an e-mail or making a phone call advising a Senate office of the organization's position on a pending vote)."
This was a key, very significant vote that highlights the willingness of many members of Congress to tread on our inalienable rights when they consider it necessary to further their political goals. Below is the voting record to strip out the offending language.
If your Senators voted "Yea," please thank them and let them knowYEAs ---55
that you greatly appreciate their support for our fundamental freedoms.
If, however, your Senator vote "No," please let them know
how deeply disappointed you are in their vote.
Alexander (R-TN), Allard (R-CO), Baucus (D-MT), Bayh (D-IN), Bennett (R-UT), Bond (R-MO) Bunning (R-KY) Burr (R-NC), Chambliss (R-GA)
Coburn (R-OK), Cochran (R-MS), Coleman (R-MN), Collins (R-ME), Conrad (D-ND), Corker (R-TN), Cornyn (R-TX), Craig (R-ID), Crapo (R-ID)
DeMint (R-SC), Dole (R-NC), Domenici (R-NM), Dorgan (D-ND), Ensign (R-NV), Enzi (R-WY), Graham (R-SC), Grassley (R-IA), Gregg (R-NH), Hagel (R-NE), Hatch (R-UT) ,Hutchison (R-TX), Inhofe (R-OK), Isakson (R-GA), Kyl (R-AZ), Landrieu (D-LA), Lott (R-MS), Lugar (R-IN), Martinez (R-FL), McCain (R-AZ), McConnell (R-KY), Murkowski (R-AK), Nelson (D-NE), Roberts (R-KS), Salazar (D-CO), Sessions (R-AL), Shelby (R-AL), Smith (R-OR), Snowe (R-ME), Specter (R-PA), Stevens (R-AK), Sununu (R-NH), Thomas (R-WY), Thune (R-SD), Vitter (R-LA), Voinovich (R-OH), Warner (R-VA)
Akaka (D-HI), Biden (D-DE), Bingaman (D-NM), Boxer (D-CA) ,Brown (D-OH), Byrd (D-WV), Cantwell (D-WA), Cardin (D-MD), Carper (D-DE)
Casey (D-PA), Clinton (D-NY), Dodd (D-CT), Durbin (D-IL), Feingold (D-WI), Feinstein (D-CA), Harkin (D-IA), Inouye (D-HI), Kennedy (D-MA), Kerry (D-MA), Klobuchar (D-MN), Kohl (D-WI), Lautenberg (D-NJ), Leahy (D-VT), Levin (D-MI), Lieberman (ID-CT), Lincoln (D-AR), McCaskill (D-MO), Menendez (D-NJ), Mikulski (D-MD), Murray (D-WA), Nelson (D-FL), Obama (D-IL), Pryor (D-AR), Reed (D-RI), Reid (D-NV), Rockefeller (D-WV), Sanders (I-VT), Schumer (D-NY), Stabenow (D-MI), Tester (D-MT), Webb (D-VA), Whitehouse (D-RI), Wyden (D-OR)
Not Voting - 2
Brownback (R-KS), Johnson (D-SD)
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