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January 3, 2007

What Brad Smith says

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch . . .

There’s big news today, so please read this one through to the end . . .

We got January and year 2007 off to a roaring start yesterday — 26 new Downsizers signed up, and we blasted Congress with another 2,100 messages opposing the 100-hour Legislative Orgy scheduled to start tomorrow.

Last January we recruited 190 new Downsizers and sent just 5,946 messages to Congress. It was a slow start. Let’s blow past those marks this month. Let’s take AGGRESSIVE ACTION. Let’s make 2007 our best year ever. Toward that end . . .

We’re going to ask you to hit Congress on two campaigns today. If you possibly can, please send messages on both. If you haven’t used our system before, please do so for the first time today. The House will vote quickly, so WE NEED YOU NOW!

Some of you have a new Representative or a new Senator. CONGRESS IS NOT YET ORGANIZED, so we don’t have contact info for some of these people yet. That’s how Congress works. They think they can pass 400 pages of new legislation controlling your life, before they even have their offices in place. DON’T LET THIS STOP YOU!

Everyone has at least one Senator who remains the same, so send him or her a message, because nearly all the garbage from the House will eventually end up in the Senate.

And then call your new representative who can’t be reached by the Internet yet. It will only take a couple of minutes, and it’s good to hit the new people early, before the Congressional leadership gets their claws into them.

I’m not just advising YOU to do that. I’ve followed my own advice this morning. I have already called my new representative’s office via the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121.

We want to hit Congress again on the 100-hour orgy, plus the grassroots lobbying legislation. And we’ve got big news on the grassroots bill.

* I asked former FEC Commissioner Brad Smith to comment publicly on this issue. I’ll share his response below.
* A really HUGE ORGANIZATION has contacted us about this bill. They may add their weight to the fight! We’ll tell you more when we know more.
* Another ally has provided us with a really excellent set of concrete examples about the harm this legislation would do in specific situations. We’ll share this with you tomorrow.

Here’s what former FEC Commissioner Brad Smith (an excellent critic of the campaign finance laws) had to say right after I corresponded with him saying the public needed to hear from him on this issue . . .

“The Grassroots Lobbying Fraud – Shutting America Up” by Brad Smith

“Included as part of the lobbying reform bill incoming Speaker Pelosi has promised to deliver within 100 hours is a provision which is simply not getting enough attention.

“The lobbying bill seeks to, among other things, require groups to account for and disclose their efforts at grassroots “lobbying.” This is a very dangerous development and should be opposed with all the white heat one could muster to attack McCain-Feingold a few years back.

“Grassroots “lobbying” isn’t “lobbying” at all, in the conventional sense. There is no “lobbyist” waiting to buttonhole members. Rather, grassroots lobbying means efforts by citizens, citizen organizations, and other groups to contact other citizens, and urge those citizens to contact their senators and representatives on an issue.

“There can be no corruption here – the ultimate result is citizen to officeholder contact. If that pressures office holders, it is the result of citizen concerns. If those citizen concerns are shaped by a “grassroots lobbying” campaign, that is exactly what the First Amendment is all about – the right to speak to fellow citizens.

“Why do officeholders want to know who is funding opinion shaping efforts in their districts? Simple – they want to know who to pressure, who to retaliate against. There are a limited number of consultants, pollsters, and ad firms with the capability to run a full scale campaign, and they are acutely subject to political pressure. Many citizens have legitimate reasons for not wanting their support made known – think of it as why we have a secret ballot at voting time.

“Moreover, you can bet your bottom that “disclosure” will not be the end of this. Disclosure is almost always the entry drug to outright prohibition. After all, it is disclosure that demonstrates the extent of “the problem” (whatever that is – here it is apparently citizens talking to citizens behind the backs of members of congress).

This is a fight that needs to be joined, and fast.”

Brad Smith is right. You can do both the “fighting” part and the “fast” part right now by sending messages to Congress on both of the following campaigns . . .

If you think Congress shouldn’t pass nearly 400 pages of dense legislation without reading it, understanding it, or debating it, tell Congress to slow-down Speaker Pelosi’s 100-hour legislative orgy by clicking HERE.

If you don’t want Congress to mute its critics by regulating groups like Downsize DC, then tell them no by clicking HERE.

One last thing before we go. We plan to be very, very aggressive in 2007. We plan to make this our break-out year. So we need to keep increasing our funding. We NEED more monthly credit card pledges. You can support this organization for as little as $3 or month. Everyone who starts a monthly credit card pledge will be listed on the roster for our upcoming “One Subject at a Time” legislation. Please start your monthly credit card pledge or make a one time donation toward our January budget by CLICKING HERE.

Yes. We’re asking you to do three things today. We hope you can. The theme for 2007 is AGGRESSIVE ACTION. Let’s be aggressive!

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

Jim Babka
President, Inc.

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