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Motorcycle Riders Foundation
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Contact: Jeff Hennie, MRF Vice-President of Government Relations
jeff@mrf.org (e-mail)

07NR06 - MRF Opposition to HR 2093


The Motorcycle Riders Foundation reports its opposition to HR 2093, a grassroots lobbying reform bill introduced my Marty Meehan (D-MA). HR 2093 attempts to give more transparency to how grassroots lobby groups legally conduct business. More transparency in our government is most certainly a good thing. However HR 2093 tramples over many of the constitutional freedoms that our country is founded on.

Like most things in Washington, the devil here is the definitions. HR 2093 specifically targets "lobby firms" however what or better yet who is defined as a lobby firm. The Meehan legislation would re define "lobby firm" to any person or entity who on behalf of "client" (which can be any other person or entity), "receives income of, or spends or agrees to spend a total of $100,000.00 in a quarterly period" to engage in paid communications to influence the general public to lobby congress. Sound like anyone you know of?

So, a single paid individual who direst the spending of as little as $100K, from any number of sources, on public-influencing activities would become, by definition, a lobbying firm. Once established as a firm the individual would be required to report to congress quarterly detailing the public influence campaigns participated in over the past three months. The price of not reporting would be hefty campaign finance fines of up to $200,000.00 per occurrence.

H.R. 2093 would regulate private communications to and among the general public, and would violate five First Amendment rights; speech, press, association, petitioning and religion

The bills sponsor initially stated that the legislation would close a "Jack Abramoff type loophole". After reading the text of the legislation it becomes apparent that neither Jack Abramoff nor the kick-backs to him under the scandal would have been disclosed under H.R. 2093.

Meehan also claims that the bill is targeted at so-called 'Astroturf' lobbying. But the fact remains that the legislation doesn't target, and never even attempts to define, 'Astroturf.' Instead, it regulates genuine citizen-supported policy communications.

Not only is H.R. 2093 unconstitutional, it will leave well heeled lobbyists, lawyers and wealthy special interests laughing all the way to the bank.

It also fosters the creation of sham or "straw-man" entities as fronts for corporations and billionaires, yet manages to have many harmful consequences for genuine citizen-supported grassroots causes.

The Senate passed similar reform legislation (S 1) earlier this year. S 1 had all of the grassroots reform language stripped out on the Senate floor. 43 Senate democrats voted in favor of heavily regulating and punishing grassroots lobby organizations. (110th Senate: roll call vote 17)

The MRF encourages you to contact your federal elected officials and voice your opinion on this important issue.

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(c)All Information contained in this release is copyrighted. Reproduction
permitted with attribution. The Motorcycle Riders Foundation, incorporated
in 1987, is a membership-based, national motorcyclists' rights
organization headquartered in Washington, DC. The first motorcyclists'
rights organization to establish a full-time presence in Washington, DC,
the Motorcycle Riders Foundation is the only Washington voice devoted
exclusively to the street rider. The MRF established MRFPAC in the early
1990s to advocate the election of candidates who would champion the cause
of rider safety and rider freedom.

The MRF proudly claims state motorcyclists' rights organizations and the
very founders of the American riders' rights movement among its leading
members. The MRF is involved in federal and state legislation and
regulations, motorcycling safety education, training, and public
awareness. The MRF provides members and state motorcyclists' rights
organizations with direction and information, and sponsors annual regional
and national educational seminars for motorcyclists rights activists, as
well as publishing a bi-monthly newsletter, THE MRF REPORTS.