Welcome to Medary.com Friday, June 14 2024 @ 05:29 AM CST

Lessons in Civics

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Consider these two passages. One is (or should be) well-known. The other is authored by Senator Harry Reid, (D-Nevada), our current Senate Majority Leader.

On second thought, perhaps Passage #1 is not as well-known, or well-understood, as it should be.

Passage #1:
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Passage #2:

SEC. 220. DISCLOSURE OF PAID EFFORTS TO STIMULATE GRASSROOTS LOBBYING.

(a) Definitions- Section 3 of the Act (2 U.S.C. 1602) is amended--
(1) in paragraph (7), by adding at the end of the following: `Lobbying activities include paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying, but do not include grassroots lobbying.'; and
(2) by adding at the end of the following:
`(17) GRASSROOTS LOBBYING- The term `grassroots lobbying' means 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.
`(18) PAID EFFORTS TO STIMULATE GRASSROOTS LOBBYING-
`(A) IN GENERAL- The term `paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying' means any paid attempt in support of lobbying contacts on behalf of a client to influence the general public or segments thereof to contact one or more covered legislative or executive branch officials (or Congress as a whole) to urge such officials (or Congress) to take specific action with respect to a matter described in section 3(8)(A), except that such term does not include any communications by an entity directed to its members, employees, officers, or shareholders.
`(B) PAID ATTEMPT TO INFLUENCE THE GENERAL PUBLIC OR SEGMENTS THEREOF- The term `paid attempt to influence the general public or segments thereof' does not include an attempt to influence directed at less than 500 members of the general public.
`(C) REGISTRANT- For purposes of this paragraph, a person or entity is a member of a registrant if the person or entity--
`(i) pays dues or makes a contribution of more than a nominal amount to the entity;
`(ii) makes a contribution of more than a nominal amount of time to the entity;
`(iii) is entitled to participate in the governance of the entity;
`(iv) is 1 of a limited number of honorary or life members of the entity; or
`(v) is an employee, officer, director or member of the entity.
`(19) GRASSROOTS LOBBYING FIRM- The term `grassroots lobbying firm' means a person or entity that--
`(A) is retained by 1 or more clients to engage in paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying on behalf of such clients; and
`(B) receives income of, or spends or agrees to spend, an aggregate of $25,000 or more for such efforts in any quarterly period.'.
(b) Registration- Section 4(a) of the Act (2 U.S.C. 1603(a)) is amended--
(1) in the flush matter at the end of paragraph (3)(A), by adding at the end the following: `For purposes of clauses (i) and (ii), the term `lobbying activities' shall not include paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying.'; and
(2) by inserting after paragraph (3) the following:
`(4) FILING BY GRASSROOTS LOBBYING FIRMS- Not later than 45 days after a grassroots lobbying firm first is retained by a client to engage in paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying, such grassroots lobbying firm shall register with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives.'.
(c) Separate Itemization of Paid Efforts To Stimulate Grassroots Lobbying- Section 5(b) of the Act (2 U.S.C. 1604(b)) is amended--
(1) in paragraph (3), by--
(A) inserting after `total amount of all income' the following: `(including a separate good faith estimate of the total amount of income relating specifically to paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying and, within that amount, a good faith estimate of the total amount specifically relating to paid advertising)'; and
(B) inserting `or a grassroots lobbying firm' after `lobbying firm';
(2) in paragraph (4), by inserting after `total expenses' the following: `(including a good faith estimate of the total amount of expenses relating specifically to paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying and, within that total amount, a good faith estimate of the total amount specifically relating to paid advertising)'; and
(3) by adding at the end the following:
`Subparagraphs (B) and (C) of paragraph (2) shall not apply with respect to reports relating to paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying activities.'.
(d) Good Faith Estimates and De Minimis Rules for Paid Efforts To Stimulate Grassroots Lobbying-
(1) IN GENERAL- Section 5(c) of the Act (2 U.S.C. 1604(c)) is amended to read as follows:
`(c) Estimates of Income or Expenses- For purposes of this section, the following shall apply:
`(1) Estimates of income or expenses shall be made as follows:
`(A) Estimates of amounts in excess of $10,0000 shall be rounded to the nearest $20,000.
`(B) In the event income or expenses do not exceed $10,000, the registrant shall include a statement that income or expenses totaled less than $10,000 for the reporting period.
`(2) Estimates of income or expenses relating specifically to paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying shall be made as follows:
`(A) Estimates of amounts in excess of $25,000 shall be rounded to the nearest $20,000.
`(B) In the event income or expenses do not exceed $25,000, the registrant shall include a statement that income or expenses totaled less than $25,000 for the reporting period.'.
(2) TAX REPORTING- Section 15 of the Act (2 U.S.C. 1610) is amended--
(A) in subsection (a)--
(i) in paragraph (1), by striking `and' after the semicolon;
(ii) in paragraph (2), by striking the period and inserting `; and'; and
(iii) by adding at the end the following:
`(3) in lieu of using the definition of paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying in section 3(18), consider as paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying only those activities that are grassroots expenditures as defined in section 4911(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.'; and
(B) in subsection (b)--
(i) in paragraph (1), by striking `and' after the semicolon;
(ii) in paragraph (2), by striking the period and inserting `; and'; and
(iii) by adding at the end the following:
`(3) in lieu of using the definition of paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying in section 3(18), consider as paid efforts to stimulate grassroots lobbying only those activities that are grassroots expenditures as defined in section 4911(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code of 1986.'.

This seems to me to be a pretty significant "abridgement" of the freedom of speech and the right to seek "redress of grievances." Just having to wade through this legal gobbledegook abridges my rights--that's something that these jackasses don't ever seem to understand.

I don't care whether or not any of this BS purports to apply to me. Passage #1 says it doesn't, regardless of how many "grassroots lobbying firms" with which I may or may not choose to associate. (I'm not a joiner, by the way, if you couldn't tell . . . )

Of course, total, complete lack of respect for fundamental freedoms guaranteed by the Constitution is what I've come to expect from Democrats (and, sadly, some Republicans like John McCain).

Hat tip: Of Arms and the Law, via Instapundit.

UPDATE:  The Senate has passed an amendment to delete the above text from the bill.  So we stand down until the next attack on the Constitution from those who are sworn to defend it.