Well, I had a response from the AFA. I’ve sent another email for some clarification on a point. Here’s the text of the email.
Dear Ms. Cotton,
I checked with our law center to find out the answers to your questions and this is what they said: When you insert S. 1 into the Act (2 USC 1602) the meaning of “grassroots lobbying” changes radically from the current concept in the IRS statute where AFA engages in grassroots lobbying when it talks to the public about a bill.
Under S.1, “grassroots lobbying” is when a member of the public contacts his elected representative; AFA contacting the public becomes a “paid effort to stimulate grassroots lobbying.” It’s “a paid effort” because AFA employees receive salaries. AFA becomes both a “grassroots lobbying firm” and a “client.”
Also, as our Action Alert list grows as people forward the Alerts to their friends. The friends would not be members. So we would fall under the restrictions of the proposed Act.
Although much of s. 1 provide needed reform, the provisions of Section 220, which deal with “grassroots lobbying” are designed to keep public service organizations like AFA or James Dobson from mobilizing the public to respond to proposed legislation.
The peculiar thing about this legislation is that it exempts corporations, labor unions, and even foreign companies from these reporting requirements. Yet, these are the entities that are most likely to engage in unethical lobbying activities.
Section 220, dealing with grassroots lobbying, has no purpose other than shutting down the voice of public interest organizations like AFA and James Dobson.
However, Senator Bennett from Utah submitted an amendment that would void section 220 before the bill was passed on Thursday of last week, so everything is okay from our stand point.
Thank you for your support and interest.
What do you think?