Today the Senate voted 55-43 to strike from the lobbying reform bill a provision that would have regulated "grassroots lobbying," that is, communications between citizens and citizen groups about legislative issues facing the Congress. CCP takes no position on pending legislation, but we have repeatedly stated our view that the public benefits when grassroots lobbying is left unregulated – that it is a matter of both constitutional law and sound public policy. Simply put, there is no corruption of the government when citizens talk to one another, whether or not those communications are paid for or not. The Supreme Court has consistently recognized the right of citizens to engage in anonymous speech, for many reasons, not the least of which is to prevent retaliation by those in authority.
We believe the Senate made a wise choice in separating legitimate questions of lobbying reform from bogus concerns about "astroturf" lobbying made by groups that themselves have no members. We are proud that CCP’s analysis of the constitutionality of grassroots lobbying restrictions was cited in Senate floor debate.
Update: CCP’s press release on this issue can be found here.