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US Senate Bill 1: Registering Bloggers

There’s a bill moving through the Senate updating the requirements and restrictions for lobbyists. The update includes a section that affects certain bloggers. I have contacted my senators asking them to join the oppostion to the blogger section, and I encourage you to do the same.

The change is aimed at bloggers that receive money in order to encourage “grassroots” movements. Slashdot is talking about it, so is DownsizeDC, the Center for Competitive Politics, and a number of others. When you read the discussion about this bill, the debate seems to go like this:

Jane: They’re requiring bloggers to register as lobbyists! That’s crazy talk!
Joe: Don’t worry, it’s only bloggers that receive money. Most bloggers are unaffected.

I think this dialogue misses the point. To me, a lobbyist is someone who reaches out to politicians and office holders and tries to change what they think. If someone asks voters to contact their representatives, that’s not lobbying. When (if) the voter makes the call, that’s not lobbying either – that’s a voter expressing an opinion. This isn’t activity that should be regulated.

You can see the actual language of the bill here; click on Section 220. Check out the section about “registrants” in particular.

By the way: I wasn’t paid to make this post.