Pelosi 'Muzzling Free Speech,' Conservatives Warn

Susan Jones | Senior Editor | Thursday, January 4, 2007

Pelosi 'Muzzling Free Speech,' Conservatives Warn

( - Tyranny! social conservatives are crying on Thursday, as "San Francisco radical" Nancy Pelosi becomes speaker of the House.

The Traditional Values Coalition warned that Pelosi is beginning her "tyrannical reign" with an aggressive plan to "muzzle" conservative groups through lobby reform.

According to TVC, Pelosi plans to attack the First Amendment right of conservative groups to freely lobby Members of Congress. Her plan is part of the Democrats' "lobby reform" legislation that she hopes to push through Congress within a few weeks.

"Rep. Pelosi, a pro-abortion, pro-homosexual, anti-military legislator, is working with the leftist Public Citizen group to craft a bill that specifically targets conservative groups -- but leaves labor unions, corporations, and even foreign interests to freely lobby Congress," the Rev. Louis Sheldon, TVC chairman, said in a message to supporters.

"The legislation will be a serious violation of the Constitution by undermining free speech and placing incredible time and financial burdens on grassroots organizations. This will infringe upon the right of the people to petition their government," he warned.

TVC said the "draconian" legislation will require all groups that communicate with the grassroots -- even as few as 500 supporters -- to fill out "onerous" government reporting forms detailing the group's expenditures, the issues the group is focusing on, and the federal officials who are targeted for lobbying.

A separate disclosure report would be required for each policy issue that the group is advocating.

The legislation would impose severe civil and potentially criminal penalties against groups that fail to register, report or omit some required information in their reports, TVC said.

Conservatives see the legislation as a "thinly veiled" attempt to muzzle them, since the bill "cleverly exempts" trade unions and corporations from reporting when and what they communicate with their members

"If this Public Citizen/Pelosi legislation is passed, it will be a serious threat to freedom of speech and the right of citizens to lobbying their representatives and senators -- yet will protect corporations and labor unions," Sheldon warned.

He said the legislation will increase TVC's financial burden -- "and force our overworked staff to spend endless hours filling out government forms that can eventually be used to punish us -- if we make a mistake in the paperwork!"

TVC is urging its supporters to contact their senators and representatives: "Ask them to vote against any Pelosi legislation that targets grassroots organizations," the group said.

"If we can't get good legislation passed during the next two years, we can at least stop bad legislation from being passed or vetoed," Sheldon added.

"We're in for a rough two years under these radical liberals."

See Earlier Story:
Non-Profits Tell Senate to 'Keep Off the Grassroots'