cj#285> (fwd) Alert re: Istook amendment


Richard Moore

This is a little outside normal CJ discussions, but relevant as an example
of the consolidation of the corporate propaganda monopoly over public
debate, ushered in by our alleged representatives.


BTW> Sorry about the mixup in reusing the posting numbers 283,284.

Date: Mon, 23 Oct 1995 11:51:09 EDT
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From: Patrice McDermott <•••@••.•••>
To: Multiple recipients of list <•••@••.•••>
Subject: Istook compromise reached: ACTION NEEDED


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  It appears that Sen. Simpson (R-WY) and Rep. Ernest Istook
  (R-OK) have reached a compromise on the Istook amendment.
  The fact that Rep. David McIntosh (R-IN) has been talking
  about an agreement for 24 hours and that the conferees to
  the Treasury, Postal Service, and General Government
  Appropriations bill have scheduled a meeting for next
  Wednesday, Oct. 25, at 10:00 a.m. add to the rumors that an
  agreement is in process.


  Unfortunately, there are only broad outlines of the Istook-
  Simpson agreement available.  If you find out information
  about the agreement, please send information to
  <•••@••.•••> ASAP.  We will post information as soon
  as it's available.

  We have been told that there is nothing in writing yet, but
  the key points are as follows.  The Istook-Simpson agreement
  would cover organizations with budgets of $1 million or more
  that have at least 1/3 of their budget coming from federal
  grants (this would include grants passing through state and
  local governments to nonprofits).  There would be a $100,000
  limit on the amount of private funds that could be spent on
  advocacy.  (We don't know if this is a sliding scale or if
  it is 10% of your budget.)  Other Istook amendment rules
  apply, but we don't what this includes.  We know it includes
  the definition of advocacy, but we don't know if it includes
  the annual reporting requirements (divulging your advocacy
  activities and how much of your private money you spend on
  these activities), posting the annual reports on the
  Internet, or the bounty hunter provisions.

  Even knowing only the broad outlines of the Simpson-Istook
  agreement, there are severe problems with the plan.  First,
  there is no need for the amendment.  Using federal funds to
  lobby is prohibited; penalties for violations are severe.
  Ironically, after four hearings on this issue, there still is
  no evidence of nonprofit organizations using federal funds to
  lobby. So why the amendment?

  Second, the principle of imposing a threshold on the free
  speech of an organization because they take a certain amount
  of federal grants raises serious constitutional concerns.
  This remains an attempt to silence the voice of a
  significant portion of the nonprofit sector.

  Third, the definition of prohibited activities is too broad.
  They are not just trying to prohibit lobbying (i.e.,
  attempts to influence legislation), they are limiting
  virtually all public policy debate (e.g., communicating with

This is no different than the Istook amendment.  The thresholds f or
coverage, fit the description of the average federal grantee.  The only
real difference is the $100,000 threshold;  instead of a 5% limit on the
use of your private funds for advocacy, it would be 10%.  Nonetheless, the
principle is still wrong-headed.


  We now have in place this e-mail system that is reaching
  thousands of people as well as many other mechanisms for
  reaching people.  Now is the time to put it all together.
  We need your help to alert people and to act quickly.

  What you can do

  1.  Contact Sen. Alan Simpson to let him know you oppose the
  Simpson-Istook agreement -- even in its broadest outline.
  Phone Number: (202) 224-3424; FAX: (202) 224-1315
  E-Mail: •••@••.•••

  2.  Contact Sen. Mark Hatfield (R-OR) (Phone: (202) 224-
  5244; FAX: (202) 224-0276) and Sen. James Jeffords (R-VT)
  (Phone: (202) 224-5141; FAX: (202) 228-0338;
  E-Mail: •••@••.•••) to encourage them to
  continue opposing the Istook amendment, including the
  Simpson-Istook agreement.  Thank them for their continuing
  leadership on this issue.

  3.  Get others to make the above two calls.  These calls
  must be done by close of business Tuesday, October 24.  Feel
  free to give people the toll-free number to reach Congress:
  (800) 336-0047.

  4.  Any updates you get, send e-mail to <•••@••.•••>
  or call your "Boiler Room" contact (see previous e-mail from
  Patrick Lester).

  We hope to stop the Simpson-Istook agreement in the
  conference.  But if it gets out of conference, we will have
  a Senate floor strategy to share with you to stop the


Name: Gary D. Bass
Organization: OMB Watch, 1742 Connecticut Ave., N.W.,
              Washington, D.C.  20009-1171
E-mail: •••@••.••• (Gary Bass)
Voice: (202) 234-8494        FAX: (202) 234-8584
Date: 10/19/95               Time: 21:48:12

Printed:                    Mon Oct 23 11:48:18 1995

  End of Forwarded Message

Patrice McDermott