Monday, February 26, 2007

Richard Burr on lobbying reform

Our Senator, Richard Burr (R-NC), replied to our letters of concern over the lobbying reform act recently passed in the Senate. I thought these two paragraphs were worth highlighting:

As Congress reforms current lobbying laws, you should know I will not support any legislation that would restrict the ability of North Carolinians, like you, to share opinions on issues with my staff or with me. For this reason, I voted to remove section 220 of the lobby reform bill, which I fear would have restricted the ability of small organizations from speaking on important issues. Under this section, constituent groups, who in most cases work in North Carolina, would have to file regular reports and abide by the same laws as lobbyists who work in Washington, DC. This change could hamper constituents who are simply organizing on a local level to contact their Senator or Member of Congress with their concerns.

I believe all citizens have the constitutional right to petition our government. I am hopeful that as Congress works to finish a lobbying reform bill we will strike the right balance between ensuring lobbying laws are followed and allowing citizens to give me their opinions. Almost every North Carolinian is represented in some way by a lobbyist in Washington, DC – including, teachers, farmers, bankers, doctors, engineers, those citizens who are ill, accountants, those citizens who need food stamps and government assistance, students, union members, small business owners, and seniors. I will work to ensure that any new lobbying reform law will not unfairly hinder the fundamental principles of freedom of speech or the right to petition the government, but instead strengthen the credibility and integrity of our democracy.

Richard Burr, Letter dated February 7, 2007

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