Now we have Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) trying to pass a bill that would prevent the mobilization of the poor to use their Constitutional right to express themselves politically by voting.
From Alter Net:
GOP Rep. Defending America Against Poor Folks Getting Too Political
Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC) says that her amendment to the National and Community Service Act would merely “codif[y] current regulations” on the political activities of non-profits that receive federal funding under the act. But that was just a lie. The intent of the Foxx Amendment is clear: to choke off a primary source of funding for nonprofit groups that work in poor communities -- to keep poor folks from participating in the political process. Some highlights of an analysis of the amendment by the good people over at OMB Watch (PDF):
The House amendment, offered by Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), contains language that restricts Corporation for National and Community Service recipients from using an organization's private funds for lobbying; endorsing or supporting events that endorse legislation; engaging in selected nonpartisan voter activities; organizing or engaging in petitions, protests, boycotts, or strikes; providing or promoting abortions or referrals; or influencing union organizing.
For most of these activities (but not all), the organization cannot receive assistance if they “co-locate on the same premises” with an organization that does any of these activities. Finally, if an organization (or co-located organization) is indicted for voter fraud, they are ineligible for training and service funds from the Corporation for National and Community Service.
The rules in place now prohibit organizations from using federal funds to engage in any of those activities, but Foxx goes a giant step further, keeping tax dollars out of the hands of groups that use private money for political purposes -- even from non-profits that “co-locate” with organizations that engage in political activism. Of course, virtually every community organization engages in some form of advocacy on behalf of their constituents.
Of course, there are no such restrictions on the federal contractors that receive gazillions of dollars from Washington -- they can and do lobby and engage in other political activities as they please.
The intent here is not only clear, it's clearly un-American; the part about “influencing union organizing” is particularly telling.
More details from OMB Watch:
The amendment also includes restrictions on volunteers conducting voter registration drives. If this applies to the organization under the definition of “political and legislative advocacy,” this raises concerns about undermining federal laws intended to increase voter registration (e.g., Help America Vote Act and the National Voter Registration Act, commonly called the “Motor Voter Act”), creates problems for states wishing to work with nonprofits to increase voter participation, and punishes nonprofits for obeying federal and state laws that are aimed at increasing voter participation.
These restrictions on volunteers seem to also apply to a volunteer’s personal time, which, of course, raises significant constitutional issues. Presumably, the Foxx amendment would use these types of activities as definitions to determine if an organization engaged in “political or legislative advocacy.”
The part about disqualifying organizations that have been indicted -- not prosecuted -- for voter fraud is a none-too-subtle effort to flog one of the Right’s favorite bogeymen -- and the signature dog-whistle campaign of the 2008 election. According to OMB Watch, “Foxx noted that ‘ACORN employees and supervisors have been indicted for voter fraud.’”
They say a decent prosecutor can indict a ham sandwich, and what Foxx failed to note was that the indictment against Acorn workers was rushed through by a notoriously partisan US Attorney just in time for the peak of the campaign season, and the organization isn't going to be convicted of any wrongdoing.
Anyway, the amendment passed in the House, but the Senate takes up the bill this week (the GIVE Act, S. 277). So, now would be a good time to call your representatives.
And the reason for not wanting the poor to vote, because there are one hell of allot more of them then there are of the rich. That would be just terrible, the country would then be run by the majority!
(Hat Tip to Joshua Holland )