Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Pelosi preparing new shackles for free speech

Mark Tapscott wrote in Examiner Incoming House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has cooked up with Public Citizen’s Joan Claybrook a “lobbying reform” that actually protects rich special interests and activists millionaires while clamping new shackles on citizens’ First Amendment rights to petition Congress and speak their minds. Pelosi tried earlier this year to move H.R. 4682, the “Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2006,” which is now cited by Public Citizen’s Web site as the vehicle it is helping the incoming speaker to craft for the new Congress.... The key provision of the 2006 bill was its redefinition of grassroots lobbying to include small citizens groups whose messages about Congress and public policy issues are directed toward the general public, according to attorneys for the Free Speech Coalition. All informational and educational materials produced by such groups would have to be registered and reported on a quarterly basis. Failure to report would result in severe civil penalties (likely followed soon by criminal penalties as well).... In other words, for the first time in American history, potentially millions of concerned citizens involved in grassroots lobbying and representing viewpoints from across the entire political spectrum would have to register with Congress in order to exercise their First Amendment rights. There is even more bad news here, though, because the Pelosi-Claybrook proposal includes loopholes big enough to protect Big Labor, Big Corporations and Big Nonprofits, as well as guys with Big Wallets like George Soros. Big Government, you see, always takes care of its big friends.

This sounds even worse than McCain-Feingold, which was terrible. I wonder if there is something in there that will say that liberal and secular progressive speech will remain free, but conservative speech is forbidden.
.... What we are witnessing here is the continuing repeal of the First Amendment. If Pelosi-Claybrook becomes law in 2007, you can be sure it will be followed by more regulations and restrictions on free speech in 2008 and beyond.

Blue Crab blogged Tapscott points out that this is an extension of the McCain-Feingold abomination. He's right. The assault began in earnest with that monstrous piece of legislation. But what this newest one will bring should concern everyone. This is a method of putting a Congressional boot down on anyone trying to get a message out that Congress does not like.

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