The “For the People” Act (also known as H.R. 1) is supposed to“expand Americans’ access to the ballot box, reduce the influence of big money in politics, and strengthen ethics rules for public servants.”  However, it will accomplish precisely none of that, exacerbate our problems, and undermine the Constitution.

Way to go, Democrats.

As founder of Citizens for Self-Governance, I believe people should be able to make the decisions that affect their lives.  I also believe it’s best when decisions are made as close to home as possible, not in some far away bureaucrat’s office in Washington, D.C.  But increasingly, Democrats believe just the opposite – that federal regulators should have more control over our lives, even over our political speech.

How many of you were sitting there at home, thinking, that our federal election laws needed to be more complex than they already were?  Well, you’re in luck!  It seems that confusion is part of the allure for Democrats.  Ambiguity chills free speech as regular Americans aren’t exactly sure what is permissible, and simply don’t risk it.

As the Dems try to give Big Brother more and more power over our lives, it’s important for the rest of us to know exactly what’s going on.

First, H.R. 1 would expand financial-disclosure requirements, which would be detrimental to possibly even the livelihoods of Americans.

Anyone who’s ever been on Twitter understands how daunting this could be. America is experiencing a renaissance of shame.  (Even Saturday Night Livelampooned the social media service, saying that Twitter’s motto was “make one mistake and we’ll kill you.”). Once someone is deemed to be on the “wrong side” of a political issue (read: the conservative side), they’re frequently shamed out of a job.  H.R. 1 would allow organization to disclose the names and even addresses of donors who might have given to one aspect of the mission or to one campaign, without subscribing, even knowing, about the full range of issues that the organization covers.

“It is unfair to hold donors responsible for every communication in which an organization engages,” the ACLU argues.  But the social media warriors will not subscribe to that sort of nuance, and will do all they can to ruin the lives of people who simply disagree with them. (Jack Phillipsis just one example of this phenomenon, as well as Barronelle Stutzman.)

Perhaps even worse, the act would have the federal government fund campaigns. Democrats usually are complaining about how “there’s too much money in politics.”  But, now we know this is all fake news: they really just want Big Brother to control the purse strings.

Oh, and there’s more.

As a founder of several grassroots activist organizations, we have to regularly consult with attorneys to make sure we’re doing everything by the letter of the law as it pertains to “lobbying.”  Already, the government could consider you a lobbyist even if you don’t consider yourself one.  However, this act broadens the definition even further, to encompass people who advise actual lobbyists with “legislative, political, and strategic counseling services” which could include even a casual chat at a D.C. cocktail party. Though I don’t spend much time in D.C. cocktail parties, it isn’t right that people could run afoul of the laws simply by having normal conversation.  The H.R. 1 conditions could apply even if the person never even engaged with an actual politician.

Beyond absurd.  How can an organization keep up with all of these possibilities?  Well, we wouldn’t be able to, of course – and that’s the point.

The problems with H.R. 1, however, runs even deeper: political speech is not particularly nefarious, yet this act builds so many walls around our political speech that normal Americans might forget we have a right to this “problematic” speech

“The Democrats seem to believe that political speech is just too dangerous to be unrestrained,” wrotethe editors of National Review.  “It has to be micromanaged, regulated by technocrats until it is directed into its government-approved lanes.”

All Americans should oppose this oppressive, unconstitutional sentiment. We are in control of our lives and destinies – not elected politicians who may have never stepped foot in our hometowns.  And self-governance is predicated on the very freedoms H.R. 1 would chill.

As a small government conservative, I find myself in the rare position of agreeing with the ACLU, as well as the conservative Institute for Free Speech.  Both organizations which both oppose this non-sense.  This should be a tip for Democrats, that they are on the wrong side of history, but they press on.

It seems that Americans are uniting against the Democrats’ power grab.  Who said politics can’t bring us together?

Image Credit: Gage Skidmore on Flickr

About The Author

Mark Meckler

Mark was a co-founder of the Tea Party Patriots, and served as the national coordinator. He left the organization to work more broadly on expanding the self-governance movement beyond the partisan divide. Mark appears regularly on television in outlets as diverse as MSNBC, ABC, NBC, Fox News, CNN, Bloomberg, Fox Business and the BBC. He’s highly sought after for the tea party perspective from print and electronic media outlets, from the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, L.A. Times, Washington Examiner, Politico and the The Hill. Mark blogs at, and his opinion editorials regularly run in many of the leading political newspapers both on and offline. Mark has a BA in English from San Diego State University and graduated with honors from University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law in 1988. He practiced real estate and business law for almost a decade. For the last eleven years of his legal career he specialized in Internet advertising law. When not fighting for the future of our nation, Mark is an avid horseman, and lives in rural northern California with his wife Patty and two children.

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