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Bill to restrict grass-roots activism?
Pro-life advocate sees proposal as attempt to limit contact with lawmakers

WorldNetDaily.com | April 12 2006

A bill that some activist organizations say would inhibit the right of ordinary Americans to petition their representatives in Congress is making its way through the legislative process in Washington, D.C.

The Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2006, S.2349, passed the Senate 90-8, and a House version of the bill could come up for a vote in two weeks, Douglas Johnson, legislative director of National Right to Life, told LifeSiteNews.

The bill "would regulate for the first time grass-roots activism," Johnson told the newssite. The legislation defines "grass-roots lobbying" as "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."

Said Johnson: "The bill does not start off by regulating all constituent contacts with members of Congress. But it does adopt that premise that that is a type of lobbying."

The activist believes the bill could limit organizations like his from urging supporters to contact members of Congress.

The stated goal behind the legislation is to more strictly regulate professional lobbyists on Capitol Hill, Johnson explains.

"This is really an agenda that certain groups like Common Cause use to restrict grass-roots democracy so certain privileged elites will have more influence on public policy," Johnson told LifeSiteNews, saying he believes Democrats are trying to insert language that restricts grass-roots activism.

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