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SENATE BILL 1 ATTACKS FREEDOM OF INFORMATION FLOW

 

Posted 1:00 AM Eastern
by NWVs investigative reporter Jim Kouri
January 19, 2007
© 2007 NewsWithViews.com

In less than one month after taking control of both houses of the US Congress, the liberal-Democrat leadership is attempting to silence their opponents while criminalizing opposition under the guise of protecting free speech, according to many Capitol Hill observers.

"While they -- with the help of the mainstream news media -- are keeping their schemes under wraps, these lawmakers are busy bribing Americans with minimum wage increases, promises of free healthcare and other goodies," said Mike Baker, a conservative political strategist in New Jersey.

According to several sources, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid is trying to silence Christian grassroots organizations, alternative media sources -- internet news and commentary, conservative newsletters, alternative radio shows, etc. -- by sponsoring of the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007.

While a number of Senators, including Senator John McCain, hail this legislation as a means to protect Americans from corruption in the elections process, Senator Reid has slid a crafty section in this new piece of proposed legislation -- Section 220. And no is covering this section within the elite media.

Section 220 of the Senate Bill 1 would require communications from organizations they deem to be "grassroots organizations" to be subject to registration and reporting requirements including reporting directly to the Secretary of the Senate and clerk of the House of Representatives any time these groups spend money to communicate to their constituents on issues that are before Congress.

It will require the same from Internet conservative news and commentary websites who have 500 or more readers. And the language in the Senate Bill 1 would require registration of anyone sending out e-mail newsletters to 500 or more readers.

Groups such as Focus on the Family, The America Family Association, the Family Research Council, Vision America, the National Rifle Association and many more, would be trapped in bureaucratic red tape that would increase their communications costs and result in a weakened effort to let you know what our elected leaders are doing in the executive and legislative branches of government.

"In addition to grassroots organizations and alternative media being silenced, even a local church pastor could be subject to this legislation should he remind your church to contact their senator about pending legislation," according to Jason Christy of The Church Report Magazine.

Celebrated talk show host John Loeffler ("Steel on Steel") is one of a handful of media people who analyzed this legislation.

According to Loeffler, under Senate Bill One and its House companion bill H.R. 4682 an organization is classified as a "grassroots lobbying firm" if it attempts to influence the general public to contact federal officials in order to express their own views on a federal issue. It must spend only $50,000 ($25,000 under the House bill) for such efforts in a quarterly period; it will be required to register as lobbyists.

"Many radio programs and websites easily spend that amount of money in the course of their activities," said Loeffler.

It is apparent from speaking with several people in Washington on Thursday, that this bill was written to curtail the dramatic affect that grassroots groups have had in reaching Americans from all across the country.

The bill would require reporting of "paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying," but defines "paid" as communications to 500 or more members of the public, with no other qualifiers.

Ironically, this legislation is so unbalanced that is does not affect the labor unions, corporations, 527 groups or other big money groups who support the liberal-left agenda and globalism.

According to Carrie Gordon Earl of Focus on the Family Action, this legislation "affects folks who, on a regular basis, communicate with the grassroots and pass along information."

Tony Perkins, Director of the Family Research Council added that "this should be called the 'Silence of the Citizens Act of 2007."

"In the new era of a Democrat-led House and Senate it is imperative that the grassroots be allowed the same consideration and rules as other groups. While lobby reform is needed, squashing Christian grassroots organizations is not the answer," adds Christy.

Talk host John Loeffler points out that this is not the first time Congress has sought to impede freedom of speech. Every so often an attempt is made to revive the Fairness Doctrine, which requires broadcasters to provide equal time and balanced viewpoints for political and social issues.

While this sounds fair, and it worked when only editorials were involved, in reality it creates a nightmare for radio and TV station licensees that engage in talk formats, because the paperwork and logistics required to comply with such a law make it impossible for the stations to function, according to Loeffler.

"As such the Fairness Doctrine is a stealth way to suppress free speech on radio stations by making it very difficult for them to function," said Loeffler.

"The U.S. Senate is about to thwart First Amendment Rights more than any other single measure in history. The Bill pending on the Senate floor is an outright attempt to intimidate organizations like gun owner groups, Pro-life coalitions, Anti-tax organizations [and others] into submission," adds Larry Pratt, executive director of Gunowners of America, in a statement.

Political strategist Mike Baker is critical of the news media for not sounding the alarm on this out-and-out assault on free speech. He also calls it a scheme to protect incumbents.

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"This is one of the biggest government power grabs in the history of the United States. These Democrat and Republican lawmakers are trying to protect themselves from scrutiny and criticism," said Baker.

“Joseph Stalin would be proud."

Contact US Senators
Contact House of Representatives

Related Articles:

1, Senate tired of people's E-mails, phone calls
2, Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007
3, The Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007
4, New Congress shredding US Constitution

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"This is one of the biggest government power grabs in the history of the United States. These Democrat and Republican lawmakers are trying to protect themselves from scrutiny and criticism,"