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December 27, 2006

The One-Minute Legislator

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch . . .

We’d like to take a break this week, but we can’t. We need you to send a very important message to Congress today. Here’s why . . .

The new Congress will be sworn in next week. Speaker Pelosi promises to hold the first vote immediately afterward. And we DO mean immediately.

Pelosi has told the media that Congress will vote on her so-called “lobbying reform” bill right after the induction ceremony.

* No one will have read this bill.
* No one will have understood it.
* No one will have debated it.

They will simply vote, and if the new Democratic majority falls in-line with the wishes of their leader, the United States will have a new law. Insto presto.

What will this new law do? No one can say for sure because the bill can’t be formally introduced until the new Congress takes office. If we take the Speaker at her at her word (and what else do we have to go by?) Pelosi is going to introduce a bill and vote on it in a matter of minutes.

We can only assume that the bill the Speaker will introduce will be one she has previously sponsored. We are proceeding on that basis.

Pelosi claims she is going to break the linkage between the special interest lobbying organizations and government spending. If that’s what she wants there’s an easy way to do it

:* Obey the 10th Amendment’s limits on federal power
* Restore the Commerce Clause to its original meaning
* Bar members of Congress from employment as lobbyists for ten years after they leave office

These three things could be accomplished with a page or two of text. Instead, Pelosi’s bill is a whopping 80 pages, and the dense details of its legalese contradict the claims she makes for it. Her bill does not impose new regulations on the big special interest lobbying organizations. It exempts them.

Instead . . .

Pelosi’s bill creates new regulatory burdens for the small grassroots organizations that have been the among the biggest critics of Congressional misconduct. These new reporting requirements will force small organizations to spend a large part of their income hiring lawyers and accountants to fill out government forms.

These new costs will drive many groups out of business. Still others will never be started because the barriers to entry are too high. Of those that remain, like DownsizeDC.org, more of their limited budgets will be spent on compliance with government dictates, and less on public outreach designed to inspire grassroots communication with Congress.

The result . . .

* Congress will hear from fewer constituents less often
* Taxpayer criticism of Congress will be muted
* The special-interest gravy train will continue barreling down the tracks

We would like to fight this with every weapon imaginable. But the Speaker plans to leave us no time for that. She won’t even let the new House members settle into their offices before they must cast their first vote. We would have preferred to wait for the start of Congress to begin attacking this legislation, but we simply can’t.

We’ve been telling you about this legislation. We’ve tried to fight a delaying action by campaigning against Pelosi’s planned 100-hour legislative orgy. Downsizers have responded with over 3,000 messages. This may have had a positive impact, but there’s no way for us to know until Congress actually convenes.

We can’t take the chance that the Speaker’s plans will go forward as she envisions. So we must strike at her fraudulent lobbying bill with everything we have. RIGHT NOW.

Please send Congress a message demanding that they NOT pass the grassroots regulations. YOU CAN DO SO HERE.

In addition, there are only 5 days left in 2006. December 31 is also the deadline for James Marquart’s contribution challenge. If 5 DC Downsizers give $100 each he will give $500. So far we have $100 from one person. We need 4 more $100 contributions. You contribution of $100 could lead to $1,000 total for Downsize DC. Any amount you can afford would be very helpful. You can make your contribution HERE.

Thank you for being a DC Downsizer.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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