Sunday, January 21, 2007

Amendment Protects Grassroots Organizing

Click here to listen to the audio of Senator Bennett's floor statement to strike section 220-The Disclosure of Paid Efforts to Stimulate Grassroots Lobbying- from the bill.


Sunday, January 21, 2007

Thanks to the efforts of Feminists for Life members and others, the Senate voted 55-43 to pass the amendment offered by Senator Robert Bennett. This amendment protects grassroots organizing within the Senate’s version of the Lobbying and Ethics Reform Bill (S.1).

The passed amendment strikes Section 220 of the bill, which would have for the first time restricted and regulated paid efforts to stimulate "grassroots lobbying."

Grassroots lobbying was defined as the "voluntary efforts of members of the general public to communicate their own views on an issue to Federal officials or to encourage other members of the general public to do the same."

We thank FFL activists who contacted their senators in support of the Bennett amendment so that we may continue to be a vital voice for women and children.

Because women deserve better, Serrin M. Foster, President
Feminists for Life of America


January 19, 2007, 8:31 AM PST

The U.S. Senate has rejected a proposal that may have required some political bloggers to register as lobbyists or face prison time.

By Anne Broache
Staff Writer, CNET

By a 55-43 vote on Thursday evening, the senators approved an amendment that dropped a controversial section dictating such regulations from a massive piece of federal lobbying legislation.

Seven Democrats joined 48 Republicans voting in favor of the amendment, which was proposed by Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah). No Republicans voted against the measure.


January 18, 2007

The Hill, The Newspaper for and about the U.S. Congress

McCain does about-face on grassroots reform bill
By Alexander Bolton

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has told conservative activists that he will vote to strip a key provision on grassroots lobbying from the reform package he previously supported.

The provision would require grassroots organizations to report on their fundraising activities and is strongly opposed by groups such as the National Right to Life Committee, Gun Owners of America, and the American Civil Liberties Union.

...“Under Section 220, anyone who is paid anything by an organization that spends any money at all to encourage more than 500 members of the general public to communicate with members of Congress, if he or she also has contacted congressional offices directly as few as two times, and has spent as little as 20 percent of his or her time on such direct lobbying and grassroots-motivating activities, would be required to register with Congress as a ‘lobbyist’ and file detailed quarterly reports,” wrote [Douglas]Johnson [director of legislative affairs for the National Right to Life Committee] in a letter to Senate offices, adding, “If enacted, it will disrupt the constitutionally protected activities of thousands of issue-oriented citizen groups from coast to coast. …”


Wednesday January 17, 2007 Highland, California

Highland Community News, WEB EDITION

Traditional Values Coalition opposes lobby bill

“The Traditional Values Coalition is deeply concerned about the grassroots lobbying requirements in Section 220 of S.1, Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act,” said TVC Chairman Rev. Louis P. Sheldon today. “Section 220 is a direct assault on the First Amendment and the right of citizens to freely petition their government for a redress of grievances!


Jan 17, 2007 at 07:22 PM ET

Political Bloggers Could Be Required To Register Or Face Jail Time
By Mitch Wagner

"Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill currently before the Senate, would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to Congress the same as the big K Street lobbyists. Section 220 would amend existing lobbying reporting law by creating the most expansive intrusion on First Amendment rights ever. For the first time in history, critics of Congress will need to register and report with Congress itself," according to a statement from


January 17, 2007


Alexander Co-Sponsors Amendment To Preserve Citizens

Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN) announced Wednesday that he has co-sponsored an amendment by Senator Bob Bennett (R-UT) to preserve the rights of groups and citizens to petition the U.S. government.

“Thomas Paine, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Martin Luther King Jr. and countless others have rallied like-minded Americans to their causes. Our nation is better for it,” said Senator Alexander. “I will oppose any language that could hinder the next generation of civic leaders from encouraging Americans to petition their government and improve our nation.”

The Bennett amendment would strike Section 220 of the ethics bill now under consideration by the Senate. That section, if left intact, would require burdensome and expensive filing and reporting requirements for grassroots organizations that encourage their members to contact government representatives. This could discourage membership organizations from playing an active role in the democratic process, infringing on their members’ First Amendment rights.

Title: A bill to provide greater transparency in the legislative process.
Sponsor: Sen Reid, Harry [NV] (introduced 1/4/2007) Cosponsors (17)
Latest Major Action: 1/18/2007 Passed/agreed to in Senate. Status: Passed Senate with an amendment by Yea-Nay Vote. 96 - 2. Record Vote Number: 19.

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