More restrictions on speech?

Are you a blogger? Then S. 1 may concern you.

From Of Arms and the Law:

S.1 has been introduced in the Senate as “lobbying reform” — which in this case means “First Amendment infringements.” An amendment has been attached, which requires registration of bloggers with more than 500 readers, and who comment on policy issues. Violation would be a criminal offense.

I looked it up on the Library of Congress webpage (which is essentially unlinkable) and have attached section 220 in extended remarks, below. As the bill is reported, it appears to cover any “paid” grassroots lobbying, that reaches more than 500 people. But a blogger who receives contributions might be classed as a “paid” grassroots type. It looks like Congress wants to keep an eye on annoying people like Porkbusters. It may be significant that S.1 was introduced by Harry Reid, one of the Kings of Pork.

[UPDATE] We won this round. The Senate passed the Bennett Amendment, which eliminated the questionable language. Here is the roll call vote.

However, the Gregg Amendment, which would have established a line-item veto was blocked by the Harry Reid and Robert Byrd.

[ANOTHER UPDATE] Welcome to all Instapundit readers!

  • T F Stern

    As with any other God given right, those which we concede to our government, either by neglect, omission or forced submission; they become spilt milk forever lost. We have a government of elitists who believe they are above the constitution and know better than those who elected them. They have lost, or more likely, thrown away the concept of equality being invested in our form of government and seek to remove any vestige of the higher ideals which our forefathers sought to establish and protect. These modern day power brokers would snicker at George Washington for his farewell speech, his having come so close to becoming a King and then stepping down from office in the interest of preserving true concepts of liberty. I pity Harry Reid for having become the monster that he now is, gobbling up rights and liberty in order to obtain personal power.

  • Kevin

    Harry Reid did not sponsor Section 220, the section in question; it was sponsored by Senator David Vitter (R-LA).

  • Ryan

    So, what constitutes 500 readers? 500 hits a day? 500 hits a month? That’s very open language…

  • Mwalimu Daudi

    By my calculations the breakdown of votes was 7 Democrats and 48 Republicans voting “YEA”, with 41 Democrats and two “independents” voting “NAY”.

    So now I have two questions for those conservatives and libertarians who either stayed home or voted Democratic on Election Day 2006 “in order to teach the GOP a lesson”.

    1. Are you pleased with this result? Free speech has been upheld, but only by a narrow margin.

    2. And do you think that the attempt by the Democratic Congress to crackdown on free speech and civil liberties has now been defeated for good, or is this just the opening battle?

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