Saturday, January 20, 2007

Was It Much Ado About Nothing ...

... or a plan to get liberals to block lobbying reform legislation? It's worth a closer look.

Like many other bloggers I received the message from Richard A. Viguerie, Chairman of and quickly voiced my objections to "Section 220 of S. 1, of the lobbying reform bill currently before the Senate, which would require grassroots causes, to register and report quarterly to Congress. However, I have recently learned that all of the furor about this legislation may be much ado about nothing.

In a recent post to his blog Professor Stephen Bainbridge, UCLA law professor states that Viguerie's claims are bogus. Prof. Brainbridge states:

"The vast bulk of the section is definitional. When you parse out the operative language, the only persons or entities required to file reports under Section 220 are "gressroots lobbying firms." The term "grass roots lobbying firm" is defined as a person or entity that "is retained by 1 or more clients to engage in paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying on behalf of such clients; and receives income of, or spends or agrees to spend, an aggregate of $25,000 or more for such efforts in any quarterly period.

Someone who engages in grassroots lobbying is not required to register or file reports under section 220. Someone who engages in paid grassroots lobbying is not required to register or file reports under section 220. Only someone who is retained by a client and either earns or spends $25,000 or more per quarter is covered.

There have been times when bloggers were hired by either political or issue campaigns to blog on their behalf. Such a blogger might be covered by this statute if they make more than $25,000 per quarter for doing so. But how many bloggers does that include?"

As I mentioned in my initial reaction to the Viguerie message, there are those in Congress who want to equate the actions of grassroots activists and bloggers to the shady dealings and power brokering of "K" Street. It looks like yesterday many of us may have been pawns in their game.

Originally posted by Pamela Lyn to Pam's Coffee Conversation at 1/19/2007 11:28:00 PM

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