FEC\\\’s proposes to enact regulations that would place the burdens of being classified as a "political committee" on citizen advocacy groups

WASHINGTON – Today, Americans for Tax Reform (ATR), the nation\\\’s leading taxpayer advocacy organization, voiced its pointed opposition to the FEC\\\’s proposal to enact regulations that would place the burdens of being classified as a "political committee" on citizen advocacy groups by filing comments opposing the Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (No. 2004-6).

The proposed rules would distort the political process by construing an advocacy organization\\\’s statements, which may be construed to support or oppose candidates or issues, into political action committee (PAC) activities.

"Just as opponents of the McCain-Feingold legislation forewarned, interpretation of the law is turning into a battle over free speech itself, not just campaign contributions, as its proponents promised," said taxpayer advocate Grover Norquist , who heads ATR in Washington , DC . "At nearly 16,000 words, the law competed with the Great Gatsby in size and scope. Few knew really what it would do, and Free Speech is bearing the brunt of its weight now," he continued.

Advocacy organizations, both Left and Right, have voiced opposition to the proposed rules; the far-left People for the American Way is joined in its opposition with such groups as James Dobson\\\’s Focus on the Family, as well as the National Right to Life Committee and Americans for Tax Reform.

"Tinkering with the First Amendment is always an underhanded thing to do," continued Norquist. "During the 10 year debate on campaign finance reform, some folks in favor of the reforms, like Dick Gephardt (D-Missouri) were at least honest when they said CFR would require amending the First Amendment. Realizing that there is no support whatsoever for amending America\\\’s most prized freedom, a hodgepodge of nefarious \\\’reformers\\\’ led by John McCain passed a set of reforms with no regard for free speech, leaving the decisions for interpretation up to the bureaucracy and the flunkies he maneuvered into positions in the FEC. And because of their blatant disregard for the First Amendment, free speech is under attack," he concluded.