Federal Legislation
June 4, 2007

H.R. 2093—To Amend the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995

Action Requested:
No Action Requested.

Background:
H.R. 2093 will amend the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 to regulate paid attempts to encourage citizens to contact their elected representatives, otherwise known as “grassroots lobbying.” This is done by broadening the definition of a “lobbying firm.” This is very similar to what was attempted with Section 220 in S. 1, the Senate lobbying reform bill. Although Section 220 and its unconstitutional attempt to regulate grassroots lobbying was stripped from the Senate lobbying reform bill, this same strategy is now being attempted in the House.

H.R. 2093 is written more narrowly than Section 220 in S. 1. Only entities that spend, receive or agree to spend or receive $100,000 per quarter on grassroots lobbying activities would fall under the reporting requirements. It also does not use the word “grassroots.” The bill uses terms like “paid communications campaigns to influence the general public to lobby Congress.” However, these minor changes do not lessen the danger posed by this legislation. H.R. 2093 will for the first time ever allow the federal government to regulate organizations that spend money to urge citizens to call or write their federally elected officials. This unconstitutional effort to regulate the free speech of organizations and citizens and their right to communicate with each other about what Congress is doing will not stop with H.R. 2093. Future legislation could easily lower the $100,000 per quarter requirement. If this bill is passed, we will see more and more regulation and limitation of so-called grassroots lobbying, which is nothing more than average citizens exercising their First Amendment right to “petition Congress.”

Introduced:
5/1/2007—Introduced in the House

Status:

5/1/2007Referred to the House Committee on the Judiciary
5/18/2007Brought up as an amendment to H.R. 2316, and voted down.

Sponsor:
Congressman Martin T. Meehan (MA-5)

Cosponsors: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:HR02093:@@@P (1)

Bill Summary and Status: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d110:h.r.02093:

HSLDA's Position:
Oppose.

 Other Resources

S. 1—The Legislative Transparency and Accountability Act of 2007

H.R. 2316—‘Honest Leadership and Open Government’ Act of 2007

Federal Issue Update: Grassroots Lobbying

May 11, 2007: Calls Needed Protect Grassroots Lobbying from Federal Control

May 16, 2007—More Calls Needed to Protect Grassroots Lobbying