There's a story coming out of rightblogistan (see, for example, Richard Viguerie's take) that's raising some disturbing questions about S 1 - the senate lobbying reform bill. Apparently, Section 220 of this bill may require that any group that talks politics to an audience of over 500 people (and tells them to contact Congress) would have to register as a lobbying organization, and meet some very burdensome requirements. Vitter and Bennett (oi!) are launching an effort to scrub this section of the bill. But here's the thing: I'm not a good enough legal scholar to test the validity of the Republican argument. So, I figured this would be a good question to put before the community. Any legal scholars around here know if there's anything to these claims?
More below the fold....
Here's Viguerie's reasoning (take the source as you will):
"Section 220 of S. 1, the lobbying reform bill currently before the Senate, would require grassroots causes, even bloggers, who communicate to 500 or more members of the public on policy matters, to register and report quarterly to Congress the same as the big K Street lobbyists. Section 220 would amend existing lobbying reporting law by creating the most expansive intrusion on First Amendment rights ever. For the first time in history, critics of Congress will need to register and report with Congress itself."
Now, I'm really, really not a legal scholar - and my gut tells me not to trust right-wing sources on things like this. However, the case they're making is apparently strong enough to get people over at MyDD to start asking some questions. And, you know, leftblogistan is somewhat more convincing to me.
So I pose this diary as a question: have any of the legal folks here at dKos taken a look at Section 220 of S 1? (The relevant text is available on the MyDD page linked, above.) If this bill does what folks are claiming it does, that seems like it might pose something of a problem for all of bloglandia. Is the right missing something, or should we be concerned?
(I'm at work, so I fear I won't be able to take as active a role as I might like in any discussion that follows.)