Curb­ing speech

The Washington Times Weekly - - National -

“A re­cent Wall Street Jour­nal/NBC News poll shows 6 in 10 Amer­i­cans think the Demo­cratic Congress ‘hasn’t brought much change,’ ” John Fund writes at www.Opin­ionJour­

“Ea­ger to change this im­pres­sion, the Democrats are fran­ti­cally try­ing to pass leg­is­la­tion be­fore Me­mo­rial Day. First on the agenda is a bill re­strict­ing lob­by­ing, which is head­ing for the House floor with light­ning speed. The House Ju­di­ciary Com­mit­tee is ex­pected to pass it [. . .],” Mr. Fund said.

“When a bill moves that quickly, you can bet some­one will try to make some last-minute mis­chief. Hardly any­one ob­jects to the leg­is­la­tion’s re­quire­ment that for­mer law­mak­ers wait two years in­stead of one be­fore lob­by­ing Congress. Ditto with bans on lob­by­ing by con­gres­sional spouses and re­stric­tions on sit­ting mem­bers of Congress ne­go­ti­at­ing con­tracts with private en­ti­ties for fu­ture em­ploy­ment.

“But the leg­is­la­tion may be amended on the floor to re­strict grass-roots groups that en­cour­age cit­i­zens to con­tact mem­bers of Congress. The amend­ment, pushed by Rep. Marty Mee­han of Mas­sachusetts, would re­quire groups that or­ga­nize such grass-roots cam­paigns to reg­is­ter as ‘lob­by­ists’ and file de­tailed quar­terly re­ports on their donors and ac­tiv­i­ties. The law would ap­ply to any group that took in at least $100,000 in any given quar­ter for ‘paid com­mu­ni­ca­tions cam­paigns’ aimed at mo­bi­liz­ing the pub­lic.”

Greg Pierce can be reached at 202/636-3285 or gpierce@wash­ing­ton­

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