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 grass-roots causes inherently threaten incumbents' power by empowering citizens. Some in Congress would pre-empt critics by imposing prior restraints with burdensome quarterly reporting, making grass-roots lobbying too expensive for small and unpopular causes.The article in its entirety is nothing less than a must read.
The proposed regulation of the grass-roots, 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.
I received an email from Viguere's Grassroots Activist organization today:
S. 2128 by Senator John McCain and 6 cosponsors has already been reported out of Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee and will be considered by the full Senate at any time!Since the passage and signing of McCain-Feingold Congress (and the President via his signature) have been treating our FIRST Amendment as a quaint guideline, with the effective weight of law accorded that of toilet paper. We, in the grassroots, in no uncertain terms need to once and for all send the strongest message possible that toying in any way with our First Amendment Rights to free political speech is not only unconscionable, but intolerable.
The onerous legislation would require groups to notify Congress in advance of the details of their grassroots communications and file costly and burdensome quarterly reports showing the costs and other details of those commications.
The dangers of these regulations are not only that they are unconstitutional, but would be an effective means to silence many grassroots causes who cannot afford the costly compliance requirements, as well as provide Congress, the institutional media and grassroots opponents of grassroots activities.
I, along with Mr. Viguere, urge all my readers (on either side of the aisle) to call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and let your elected representatives know in no uncertain terms that cavalier treatment of our First Amendment rights will not be tolerated.
(Filed under first amendment assaults)