McIntosh Amendment: Nonprofit Alert

Thomas Cagle (nh-adapt@juno.com)
Wed, 10 Jun 1998 13:21:57 -0400


From: "Let America Speak" <lasmail@ombwatch.org>
Subject:  McIntosh Amendment: Nonprofit Alert
To: "Let America Speak" <las@lyris.ombwatch.org>


 LET AMERICA SPEAK ALERT

McIntosh Amendment Would
Limit Political  Speech of Nonprofit  Employees

Background

Representative David McIntosh (R-Ind.) has proposed an amendment,
"Political Activities of Government Employees," to be offered during
the upcoming debate in the House over campaign finance reform
legislation that would, once again, restrict the free speech rights of
individuals employed by any organization that receives Federal funds.

Under the McIntosh proposal, employees of organizations that receive
Federal funds would be covered under the Hatch Act.  The Hatch Act
currently covers Federal employees and certain state and local
government employees.  The Act was designed to keep federal employees
safe from political interference.  No one has ever tried to apply this
Act to such a wide array of private employees  until now.

Specifically, the proposal would extend the Hatch Act coverage to local
governments and "any corporation, association or other non-governmental
entity that receives Federal funds".  This phrase appears to include
not only entities that receive Federal grants, but also those who
borrow from, or enter into contracts with, the Federal government.  For
example, a foodbank that received a Federal grant would be covered by
the amendment, as would the Big Three automakers and many Main Street
small businesses.  This definition is significantly broader than
previous attempts to silence the advocacy rights of nonprofit
organizations.

One major Hatch Act restriction prohibits federal employees from
running in partisan elections.  The McIntosh amendment would extend
this restriction to all employees of an entity that receives Federal
funds, regardless of whether their work was supported by Federal funds.

The amendment would also extend the Hatch Act rule that prohibits
employees from personally soliciting or receiving contributions in a
partisan campaign, or having their name appear on an invitation to a
political fundraising event.

The amendment would also extend the Hatch Act's workplace partisan
political activity prohibitions to any entity receiving Federal funds.
It would also cover employees of nonprofits if the nonprofit rented
space, or used phones or computers owned or leased by an entity that
received federal funds.  It should also be noted that the amendment
would extend the Hatch Act penalties to local governments, nonprofits,
and corporations.  In this case, the penalty for violating the Hatch
Act is the loss of their federal civil servant job  a penalty that is
inapplicable in the private sector, making the McIntosh amendment
unenforceable.

Discussion

This kind of activity lies at the core of our First Amendment rights.
As the Supreme Court has ruled, any regulatory burden or restriction on
political speech must be narrowly tailored to serve a compelling state
interest.  There is simply no justification for such a sweeping
restriction on the ability of Americans to participate, on their own
time and in their own homes, in the political debates that take place
in their community.  Charitable organizations and their employees are
already prohibited from engaging in partisan political activity.  This
amendment would go beyond these significant restrictions to reach into
the private lives of private employees, and runs counter to the need to
involve more individuals in the political process, a common theme of
virtually all campaign finance reform proposals.

Here's What You Can Do:

      Contact House members to let them know that you oppose the

McIntosh amendment on campaign finance reform (called "Political
Activities of Government Employees").  Tell your Representative to vote
against this sweeping restriction on the ability of Americans to be
involved in political debate.  You may contact their office by calling
the Capitol Hill switchboard at (202) 224-3121;

      Contact Rep. McIntosh's office to tell him to withdraw his

amendment on campaign finance reform (called "Political Activities of
Government Employees").  His telephone number is (202) 225-3021; the
fax is (202) 225-3382;

      Alert your members and affiliates to this proposal, and
ask
that they contact their Representatives to urge them to vote against
the McIntosh amendment;

      You can send a letter to your Representative from OMB Watch's
Activist Central web site at http://ombwatch.org/ombwatch.html . Click
on Activist Central from this web page.  A sample letter is available;
and

      Send us copies of any responses, or a summary of feedback you
receive, from Members of Congress.

Timing

The debate over campaign finance reform legislation will be taking
place in installments during the coming weeks.  It is difficult to
predict when, and how often, the McIntosh amendment will be offered;
the proposal may be offered to each of the 11 different reform
proposals that will be debated.  Therefore, we are encouraging you to
speak out now so that our voices are heard before the amendment is
first offered.


--------------------------------------------------------
Let America Speak Contacts:

Alliance for Justice    Independent Sector   OMB Watch
Stephan Kline Matt Hamill   Patrick Lemmon
skline@afj.org      Matt.Hamill@indepsec.org        lemmonp@ombwatch.org
(202) 822-6070 (202) 223-8100   (202)234-8494

Visit the Let America Speak Web Site: http://www.rtk.net/las

Everything comes around again
Support MiCASA HR 2020
Tom Cagle
nh-adapt@juno.com
http://www.geocities.com/CapitolHill/6482
ICQ 7555286

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