Free Speech Coalition &
Free Speech Defense and Education Fund
Activities - 2000

Curtailing Regulatory Appetites
On March 15, 2000, on behalf of 26 members, FSC submitted comments to the House Ways and Means Committee attacking the so-called Study of Disclosure Provisions Relating to Tax-Exempt Organizations, produced by the Joint Committee on Taxation. The comments strongly opposed staff recommendations to expand dramatically the reporting burdens and disclosure risks on tax-exempt organizations.

Opposing Regulatory Fishing Expeditions
On April 13, 2000, on behalf of 20 FSC members, FSC filed comments with the U. S. Postal Service regarding proposed changes to USPS Rules of Practice Governing Sec. 3005 Proceedings, opposing expanded subpoena authority under the Deceptive Mail Prevention Act of 1999 (which FSC had previously opposed and provided testimony against). Proposed regulations allowed the Postal Inspection Service to get subpoenas executed by the Inspector General in blank to be filled out later however the Postal Inspectors wish.

Seeking Constitutional Redress
On May 15, 2000, FSDEF filed an Amicus Brief on behalf of itself and 47 FSC/FSDEF members in support of the Petition for Certiorari to the U. S. Supreme Court regarding the ATA v Giani (State of Utah) case. Only a partial victory was obtained in the U. S. Court of Appeals for the 10th Circuit, which struck down the bonding requirement on fund raising agencies and two other provisions of the Utah law, and FSDEF’s effort to obtain additional relief were thwarted when Certiorari was denied by the U. S. Supreme Court in September.

Recognition for Protecting Free Speech
On May 19, 2000 the FSC was featured in a 20 column-inch article in Human Events weekly newspaper, for its work in defending the advocacy rights of non-profit organizations.

Promoting Better Standards
In May, 2000, FSC distributed to its leadership team a letter requesting their input on issues (e.g., changes in nonprofit accounting standards, emergence of new fund raising methods, etc.) to be addressed in the Council of Better Business Bureaus, Inc. Standards for Charitable Solicitations.

Protecting Anonymous Speech
On June 26, 2000, FSC hand-delivered to each U. S. House member a detailed analysis exposing the constitutional flaws in H. R. 4717, the "Full and Fair Political Activity Disclosure Act of 2000." FSC’s statement gave historical documentation of the importance of "anonymous speech" in the founding and development of our nation. Congress dropped the proposed inclusion of 501(c)(4) groups the final bill.

Exposing Regulatory Abuse
On July 25, 2000, FSC Legal Co-Counsel Bill Olson submitted testimony before the House Subcommittee on the Postal Service of the Committee on Government Reform on behalf of the FSC regarding Postal Inspection Service’s abuse of law enforcement powers and the proposal to expand subpoena authority of postal officials.

Preventing Abuse of the Cooperative Mailing Rule
FSC actively supported efforts to introduce and pass legislation to prevent the U. S. Postal Service from dramatically expanding the intent and application of the Cooperative Mailing Rule.

Protecting the Internet from Excessive Regulation and Taxation
FSC members attended the September NAAG/NASCO conference in San Diego, CA to both observe and directly influence considerations of how these regulators propose to burden and tax the use of the Internet by non-profit organizations.

Planting Seeds for Future Harvest
FSC representatives met with Virginia Attorney General Mark Earley to educate him on the problems of excessive state regulation of non-profits.

Sharing Information and Planning Strategy
FSC continued to educate nonprofits, vendors, and agencies about the threat of excessive regulation, as well as educate regulators about the adverse consequences of many of their policies. FSC sent its newsletter "Free Speech" to members and nonmembers, sent fax and e-mail alerts regarding new legislative concerns to its members. FSC held ten leadership breakfast meetings to plan its strategy and track key issues.