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Monday, January 22, 2007

Good-O, Norm

Norm Coleman did the right thing last week when he voted in favor of the Bennett amendment removing provision 220 from S. 1, the Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act. Groups as disparate in philosophy as Focus on the Family and the ACLU opposed section 220 of that bill because its language would probably (it's badly written, so we'd have to wait for word handed down from their imperial majesties, the Justices of the Supreme Court) impose on them onerous reporting requirements under the guise of promoting transparency in the lobbying industry. Given that the penalty for knowing failure to comply with the reporting is a $100,000 fine per quarter in which violation occurs, and possibly jail time, it would put a lot of the citizen watchdog groups out of business. Sen. Coleman is also to be congratulated for highlighting his own virtuous action in his 1/19 press release. Took a while, but he finally publicized his own position; you could drop him a line to let him know how much you appreciate it by going to his "contact" page through the previous link.

In a laughable betrayal of her supposed principles, Amy Klobuchar showed she cares nothing for free speech when she voted against the Bennett amendment. Don't we all look forward to campaigning for her opponent in 2012?

All readers should keep their antennae up for the introduction of the House version of this bill, expected this week, which Dame Speaker has indicated will include the offensive anti-speech provision regulating the rights of citizens to alert each other to the dangerous actions meditated by their representatives. Be prepared to deluge the House switchboard and network with messages insisting they remove the regulation of "grassroots lobbying;" it looks like it will take tremendous pressure to make Dame Speaker see the light. Madame McCollum, the illustrious representative for many readers of this blog, has been appointed to the Oversight and Government Reform committee, and could well play a significant role in the shaping of this legislation as well. As the Brits say, watch this space.

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