CCP Campaign Finance Events Friday 11/16 By Joe Trotter There are two events tomorrow in the DC area on campaign finance. The first event is the GW law review symposium, titled: “Law and Democracy: A Symposium on the Law of Governing Our Democratic Process” (link here), features CCP founder and Chairman Brad Smith at the […]
Grassroots lobbying is any effort to organize, coordinate or implore others to contact public officials in order to affect public policy. Through grassroots lobbying, like‐minded citizens can alert elected officials to constituents’ preferences, educate fellow citizens and make their voices heard, and even persuade the public to adopt new views. In short, grassroots lobbying is quintessential representative democracy in action. However, as this report documents, sweeping lobbying laws in 36 states threaten to strangle grassroots movements in red tape and bureaucratic regulation. Twenty‐two states explicitly include grassroots lobbying in the definition of lobbying, while another 14 consider any attempt to influence public policy to be lobbying, as long as a certain amount is spent. Thus, such common activities as publishing an open letter, organizing a demonstration or distributing flyers can trigger regulation and force organizers to register with the state and file detailed reports on their activities, as well as the identities of supporters. These regulations raise the costs of political activity and set legal traps for unsuspecting citizens, thus making it more difficult for ordinary citizens to participate in politics-all with little or no benefit to the public. These findings suggest elected officials should listen to constituent concerns or debate ideas in the open, rather than mowing down the grassroots with regulation.
Filed Under: Issue Advocacy, Lobbying, Research, grassroots, lobbying, lobbyist, milyo, primo, Disclosure, Lobbying, Disclosure, Lobbying, Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming
This CCP report that examines the number of lobbyist registrations in Arizona and Maine, the two states with the longest running public financing programs. Advocates for taxpayer financed campaigns often argue that their programs remove the threat of special interest influence, and presumably the number of lobbyists, but this research shows no relationship between taxpayer financed campaigns and the number of registered lobbyists.
The following is a CCP analysis of the effort in New York to overhaul their campaign finance regulations.
The Center for Competitive Politics published two policy primers on grassroots advocacy. They detail the incompatible relationship between regulating grassroots activity and reforming the lobbying industry and addresses the Consitutional protections of anonymous grassroots activism.
Text of H.R. 2093, the grassroots lobbying disclosure proposal introduced by former Representative Marty Meehan (D-MA) in the 110th Congress.
The Free Speech Coalition has released an excellent analysis of the constitutionality of grassroots lobbying disclosure. It can be found here: LINK
Here are some additional references…
-CCP’s analysis of constitutional protection for anonymous speech: LINK
-CCP’s original Policy Primer on grassroots lobbying disclosure: LINK
-CCP Exec. Director Steve Hoersting’s op-ed on one of the most famous exponents of grassroots lobbying: LINK
-CCP Chairman Brad Smith’s blog post on one of the most infamous exponents of disclosure: LINK
Speaker-elect Nancy Pelosi has promised to "break the link between lobbyists and legislation," and has included in that program proposals for grassroots lobbying disclosure.
Before signing on, both Left and Right should look at Sens. Snowe and Rockefeller’s recent treatment of the Competitive Enterprise Institute and ExxonMobil.
Click on the title to read more.
A story in USA Today highlights a true appearance of corruption, and it has nothing to do with financing America’s political campaigns: "Lobbying groups employed 30 family members last year to influence spending bills that their relatives with ties to the House and Senate appropriations committees oversaw or helped write."
Lobbyists defending the practice come off sounding less than credible: "Lobbyist William Clyburn Jr. said he sees no benefit to having family on the Appropriations Committee. The lobbyist is the son of Rep. Clyburn’s first cousin, and Clyburn said he grew up calling the lawmaker ‘uncle.’"
Click here to read the whole story.
See CCP’s piece last month in National Review Online on so-called "grassroots lobbying" disclosure, where Smith and Hoersting wrote that “[f]ar from being the problem, grassroots lobbying is part of the solution to restoring the people’s faith in Congress.” The policy primer, on which the NRO piece is based, is gaining some acceptance inside the beltway, and much support from non-profit organizations protective of their right to advocate policy positions to fellow citizens.
You may access the Policy Primer here.