Thoughts, essays, and writings on Liberty. Written by the heirs of Patrick Henry.

“Though the earth, and all inferior creatures, be common to all men, yet every man has a property in his own person: this no body has any right to but himself. The labour of his body, and the work of his hands, we may say, are properly his. Whatsoever then he removes out of the state that nature hath provided, and left it in, he hath mixed his labour with, and joined to it something that is his own, and thereby makes it his property. It being by him removed from the common state nature hath placed it in, it hath by this labour something annexed to it, that excludes the common right of other men: for this labour being the unquestionable property of the labourer, no man but he can have a right to what that is once joined to, at least where there is enough, and as good, left in common for others.”     John Locke,    Two Treatises of Government, Of Property

January 18, 2007

More restrictions on speech?

by Jason Pye

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!

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5 Comments

  1. 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.

    Comment by T F Stern — January 18, 2007 @ 1:57 pm
  2. Harry Reid did not sponsor Section 220, the section in question; it was sponsored by Senator David Vitter (R-LA).

    http://www.informationweek.com/blog/main/archives/2007/01/political_blogg.html

    Comment by Kevin — January 18, 2007 @ 2:50 pm
  3. So, what constitutes 500 readers? 500 hits a day? 500 hits a month? That’s very open language…

    Comment by Ryan — January 18, 2007 @ 3:15 pm
  4. 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?

    Comment by Mwalimu Daudi — January 18, 2007 @ 7:15 pm
  5. [...] On almost-partisan lines the Senate passed an amendment that deleted a section of the Lobbying Reform Bill dealing with grassroots lobbying. There was a tempest in the blogosphere over the possibility it would require certain webloggers to register as lobbyists. [...]

    Pingback by The American Mind / Webloggers Overreact to Senate Lobbying Bill — January 18, 2007 @ 8:20 pm

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