Senate Rejects Blogging Bill
The U.S. Senate has shot down a proposal that would have required some political bloggers to register as lobbyists or face prison time for up to 10 years. The Senate approved an amendment that removed the section that would have required some bloggers to be regulated.
The portion that was removed from the bill was Section 220 that would have required people involved in grassroots lobbying to register with the government or face criminal and civil penalties.
Opponents of Section 220 said it would violate bloggers and nonprofit groups freedoms that are protected by the U.S. Constitution. Some of the groups opposed where from opposites ends of the political spectrum. The American Civil Liberties Union and Gun Owners of America were both in agreement over the issue.
Sen. Bob Bennett who proposed the amendment agreed saying,” Let’s reaffirm that the zenith of the Bill of Rights is free speech, the right to petition your government for redress of your grievances, and the right to peacefully assemble, all of which are involved in grassroots lobbying and none of which should be criminalized”
Supporter of the bill Sen. Carl Levin said,” This provision is intended to shed light on the dollars being spent by lobbyists. It in no way affects individuals who want to call or write their member of Congress.”
Gary Bass, executive director of OMB Watch, an advocacy group said,” What this was aimed at was the high rollers…When you get those phone calls at night or the e-mails from Citizens for Better Healthcare or whatever it may be, you have a right to know who’s bankrolling that.”