“The single purpose of the Mikulski amendment
is to gut the Foxx amendment, plain and simple,
giving radical organizations all the cover they need
to take money out of the President's program that
in reality they should have no access to.”
—ALG President Bill Wilson.
Mikulski Amendment to GIVE Act Guts Taxpayer Protections from House Version of Bill
March 26th, 2009, Fairfax, VA— ALG President Bill Wilson today strongly urged members of the U.S. Senate to vote against an amendment proposed by Senator Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) that “would allow lobbying and other political organizations to receive billions of dollars in funding from President Obama's national 'service' program.”
“The single purpose of the Mikulski amendment is to gut the protections in the bill for taxpayers,” Wilson warned, “giving radical organizations all the cover they need to take money out of the program.”
“The House version of the GIVE Act was amended overwhelmingly to explicitly prohibit lobbyists, political parties, for-profits, and labor organizations from receiving tax dollars under the program,” Wilson reminded the Senate in his statement.
“Under the Mikulski amendment, those organizations can receive the money, they just have to promise not to use it for the prohibited activities,” Wilson said.
“But, the way the Mikulski substitute is worded the money is fungible, meaning that an organization can claim that it doesn't do voter registration with government money but that they do it with 'other' money,” Wilson explained. “Meanwhile, all sorts of overheads costs are shifted to the so-called 'clean government' side of the ledger to free up money to do the politics and lobbying.”
“This is a bad deal for taxpayers, and there will be no way to enforce any prohibitions on the use of the funds once the money is in the coffers of the political organizations,” Wilson added.
Congresswoman Virginia Foxx, whose amendment laid in the prohibitions against political organizations, for-profits, labor unions, and lobbyists, told ALG News that without her amendment, dollars going to national service programs would wind up in political coffers.
According to Foxx's amendment, individuals and organizations that participate in national service programs would be prohibited from engaging in lobbying, and also prevented from co-locating upon the same premises as organizations that lobby.
Foxx told ALG News that tax dollars are already winding up in political war chests. She hopes that her amendment will remain in the Senate version.
Wilson is concerned that it will not. “I hope the fix is not in, but members of the Senate will tell the American people with their votes if they want to force American taxpayers to furnish money for speech with which they might not agree,” he said.
The legislation, with Foxx's amendment included, passed the House 321-105. The bill has been introduced in the Senate, and cloture has already been invoked, although it can still be amended by Mikulski's amendment.
“It is up to Senate Republicans and Democrats to unite and defeat the Mikulski amendment, which is nothing more than a kickback to radical front groups that will wind up costing taxpayers billions,” Wilson concluded.
To watch ALG News' interview with Rep. Virginia Foxx, please follow the link below: