Bloggers, Are We Lobbyists?

by lewwaters

washington-sealPerhaps you think that is a silly question, but currently, the Public Disclosure Commission in Washington State is conducting hearings to determine if we should be required to register and file records as lobbyists in the state of Washington.

PDC Document (pdf file)

The first hearing was held November 12, 2008. Mike Reitz, of the Evergreen Freedom Foundation has been covering this here and here.

I know that we who blog on political matters rarely agree and quite often are at extreme odds with each other, but do you think we are lobbyists?

A lobbyist is a person or group who tries to influence public officials, usually for specific groups or legislation who would gain from passing certain pieces of legislation. We seem to have a love/hate relationship with lobbyists, depending on just what official they are trying to influence on what specific piece of legislation.

While we may express our views in support of or opposition to candidates or legislation to the public who chooses to read our blogs, I do not see this as lobbying. I see it as expressing our views as we are entitled to under the First Amendment of our Constitution.

In a way, we supply Op-Eds and Letters to the Editors that escape editing by the local paper or that never get published. Often, we express a view either counter to what has been published or in support. Occasionally we speak out on a subject that should have been published, but wasn’t.

Look upon it as an Internet Soap Box in the park, but in the comfort of our homes.

Of course, we visit each other’s blogs and sometimes, engage each other, supplying lurkers with a reasoned argument, hopefully, that they will not see anywhere else. Sadly, those discussions all too often break down in ad hominem, but we do supply legitimate citizen debate and discussion without censorship, other than what we bloggers do not allow on our sites.

Should this effort by the Public Disclosure Commission succeed, I see this as a direct infringement on not only my free speech, but yours as well. I disagree with the Liberals all too often, but do not advocate their being silenced.

Bloggers, be you Liberal, Moderate or Conservative, we need to stand together on this one and protect our free speech on the Internet. Government should not be allowed to regulate us or silence us by forcing us to register as lobbyists.

Whatever your political views are, we need to flood Olympia with phone calls, letters and emails expressing our disagreement with this effort. It may very well affect all of us, should they pass it.

They meet again on December 4 to discuss this further. Join me in letting them know we will not stand for our free speech to be denied!

5 Responses to “Bloggers, Are We Lobbyists?”

  1. Good comments, Lew. I think the PDC can address its concerns of regulating ACTUAL lobbying without throwing the net over citizen bloggers.

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  2. Thanks, Mike. It’s very scary what I see happening today. I hope the liberal bloggers open their eyes and help fight this, while we still have some freedoms left.

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  3. I think that the only lobbying I do is for my own interests, and I shouldn’t have to register for that. If it wasn’t for sites like ours Lew, people would have no clue about what is really going on in their own government.

    Case in point…there is a Memorandum that was issued by the City of Vancouver’s Development Department last Friday, discussing the progress that had been made in just a little over a month, toward arranging the purchase of the columbian’s building by the City of Vancouver.

    I got a copy of that letter, posted it on Clarkblog.org, and have followed up with a letter to the City Attorney asking him to look into it because it has a number of serious problems.

    Without the blogosphere to break that story, and publish that letter online, nobody outside of the City would know anything about it.

    The City of Vancouver’s budget is a hot topic, and for the past 2 days I have been publishing Citizen’s comments that they have sent to City Council Critters about the cuts in Parks and Rec for the sake of the Columbia Waterfront LLC.

    Without the blogosphere, the only place for a citizen to voice their concerns in public is in the Newspaper, and if the paper squashes any opposing letters, then other people may think that it is only them that has any concerns, when in fact many of their friends and neighbors are just as concerned as they are.

    This registration business sounds an awful lot like the “Fairness Doctrine” tailored to squash comment on the internet. And with Barack DelanObama poised to take office in january, anything is possible.

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  4. Since they are trying to silence bloggers, why don’t these also go after the newspapers and the media for being so one sided? They are not doing the same, but blatantly endorsing democrats, blatantly ignore all points of view. I would indeed say that the media and newspapers are the true lobbyists. The media and news rags are not even quiet about it any more.

    This attempt to silence the voters is the first step into the communist social world Obama speaks of.

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