From: R E A L C a m p a i g n R e f o r m . o r g 3:43 PM To: "Subscriber" <RCRReport@mjx.RealCampaignReform.org> Subject: RED ALERT!
An Urgent Message from Jim Babka President of RealCampaignReform.org
Shays-Meehan (the House version of the McCain-Feingold bill) and any alternative bills will be debated in the House of Representatives Tuesday and Wednesday, February 12 & 13.
Shays-Meehan is a terrible bill that restricts your 1st Amendment rights. There are several dreadful provisions included in it, but in this message I'll just focus on one of them.
Shays-Meehan provides for 90 days in every election year when you and organizations you belong to will be prohibited from running any ads on radio or television that might influence a federal election campaign. In other words, there will be 90 days when you will be denied the right of free speech regarding election campaigns.
And the penalty for violating this law could be as much as $25,000 or five years in prison.
Incumbents love this. They're able to raise millions of dollars in hard-money contributions through a process called "bundling." Bundling occurs at events or through PACs (a creature of campaign finance laws) that seek access or influence with Congressmen. Nothing in the Shays-Meehan bill would stop that.
And nothing would stop the media from giving well-known politicians plenty of news coverage during any 90-day "advertising blackout" period. The media's influence will actually increase once this bill is passed -- which explains why The New York Times has turned this bill into a cause to promote, instead of a story to cover.
Challengers benefit more from advertising by their supporters than do incumbents. And they are the big losers for this bill.
Big-government politicians like Senator John McCain and Representatives Dick Gephardt and Marty Meehan are behind the bill. Each of them has said in public statements that without this bill they can't pass a so-called "Patient's Bill of Rights," any Tobacco legislation, nor can they close the so-called "Gun Show Loophole."
So it's not surprising that politicians who love government love this bill. A large majority of Democrats are overwhelmingly for it. And nearly 50 Republicans are considering joining them. If we're to have any hope of reducing the size of government, we must END the current campaign finance laws that restrict competition, not make them worse.
218 votes are needed to pass this bill. Common Cause and the sponsors of this bill believe they'll win, but barely. Only about 200 or so Congressmen are firmly in support of this bill. Letters, faxes, phone calls, emails, and telegrams to Congressmen can, quite possibly, win the day.
You can help stop this bill. You can send a personalized message to your Congressman using our proprietary Online Lobbying Center at http://www.RealCampaignReform.org Because your message will go only to _your_ Representative, it is much more likely to be read.
We've provided a form letter you can use, or you can insert your own language. But please be sure to tell your Congressman to vote against Shays-Meehan and any alternative (such as the Ney-Wynn bill).
We've made it easy -- just a couple of mouse clicks to contact your Congressman. And it's free!
Last July, we generated more than 3,000 emails and faxes against the Shays-Meehan bill. Let's do more and better this time. Let's kill this bill for good!