DownsizeDC.org
March 13, 2006
Should Congress serve or rule?
By Perry Willis
This morning's Downsizer-Dispatch . . .

Please forward this to anyone you know who thinks Congress should serve rather than rule.

Dear friend,

What would happen if you required your boss to tell you all the people he or she deals with before you would take instructions about how to do your job? You'd be fired on the spot.

Well, Congress is doing exactly that. Congress wants reports filed on citizens who use grassroots organizations to communicate with their elected representatives.

But doesn't Congress work for you? Shouldn't you be able to use grassroots organizations like DownsizeDC.org, Gun Owners of America, AARP, or the Marijuana Policy Project, to communicate your desires to YOUR representatives. Shouldn't you be able to issue instructions to YOUR public servants without them placing burdens on how you do that?

Congress wants every grassroots lobbying organization to file reports with the government. Reports about you! Reports about who you are, what your business interests are, and how much money you contribute. But shouldn't it be the other way around? Shouldn't Congress, and all the people who work for Congress, be the ones who are filing reports (available to YOU) about how they spend their time, who they meet with, who writes the bills they sponsor, and who buys them meals and pays for their travel?

The Lobbying Reform Act, currently pending in Congress, has it exactly backwards. Congress wants to exploit the recent Jack Abramoff and Duke Cunningham scandals, involving wrong-doing by people in Congress -- not wrong-doing by YOU -- to regulate how you communicate with your public servants.

This is how Congress operates. Congress does something wrong, and then exploits its own bad behavior to regulate not itself, but the people it is supposed to serve. Congress wants to rule rather than serve. The Lobbying Reform Act would make you, the boss, submit to Congress, rather than the other way around. But it gets worse . . .

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist has taken the Lobbying Reform Act -- a very bad bill -- and combined it with a very good bill that we support -- the Online Freedom of Speech Act. The Online Freedom of Speech Act would preserve the First Amendment's "Freedom of the Press" for individuals. "Freedom of the press" is a right that belongs to all of us, not just big establishment media corporations. The Online Freedom of Speech Act would place blogs and websites on the same legal footing as the mainstream media. It would give them the same protection from the incumbent-protection laws (otherwise known as campaign finance regulations), that the "New York Times" enjoys.

Combining these two bills is a really despicable move by Senator Frist. Here's why . . .

The Online Freedom of Speech Act probably has enough support to pass on its own -- thanks largely to the work of the very grassroots lobbying organizations Congress wants to strangle with the so-called Lobbying Reform Act. But the Online Freedom of Speech Act has nothing to do with the Lobbying Reform Act. It should be voted on separately.

This is a typical Congressional con game. Congress constantly combines good bills with bad bills to give the American people a raw deal. This is how Congressional leaders manipulate things to rule rather than serve. Don't let them get away with it.

Please use DownsizeDC.org's quick-and-easy online citizen's lobbying system to send a message to your supposed public servants in Congress. Tell them to separate the Online Freedom of Speech Act from the so-called Lobbying Reform Act. Tell them to vote on each bill separately. Tell them to pass the Online Freedom of Speech Act, and reject the so-called Lobbying Reform Act. You can do so by clicking here.

Thank you in advance for using DownsizeDC.org to issue your public servants their work orders.

Jim Babka President DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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