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March 27, 2007

Progress, a secret, and good news

Today’s Downsizer-Dispatch

We’re still making our push to raise the balance of our monthly budget. And I have progress to report on that front. But first . . .

I have more good news, and secret to share . . .

Earlier this month, I told you about an amicus brief we wanted to support in a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

At issue is the constitutionality of the electioneering communications provisions of the Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (a.k.a., McCain-Feingold).

These provisions require groups of citizens to . . .

* designate a treasurer who will assume financial liability
* file papers with the government for what is basically a license to communicate
* disclose the name of every citizen who contributes for the purpose of said communication,

Unless these steps are taken no radio or TV ad about an issue that mentions a candidate for office can be broadcast 60 days before a general election or 30 days before a primary.

We see this as a prior restraint on First Amendment activity, including the freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly and of the right to petition government.

We’ve seen how such provisions favor incumbents and disadvantage challengers. These laws have a chilling effect on contributions and citizen participation.

You’ll be pleased to learn that the brief has been filed, and we’ve posted it on our blog.

We’re proud of this brief. It makes solid Constitutional arguments.

Many other briefs by other groups have also been filed. I haven’t read any of them, but if past experience is any guide, ours is likely to be the most incisive of in terms of basic Constitutional principles. You may find the legal language of the brief a bit difficult, but I encourage you to check it out anyway. I think you’ll be pleased and rewarded.

Most days I write to you about a project, but this amicus brief was an initiative of the Downsize DC Foundation. And I’m going to let you in on a secret . . .

Once we “get over the hump” of raising our monthly progress base, presently $14,000 per month, we’re going to begin adding layers of additional tactics. One of the strategic areas we know we need to visit — if we’re to Downsize DC — is our Courts.

We’re sure it comes as no surprise to the readers of this Dispatch that Judges and Justices have lost their way. Caught up in pet theories, penumbras, and social engineering, they have forgotten the precious value of the law and lost sight of the genius of the Constitution.

We hope to work through the Downsize DC Foundation to help fix this, using the same kind of leveraged strategic thinking that has applied through things like the “Read the Bills Act.”

The point is that there is much that can be done that is not being done, and we look forward to applying unique solutions to the problems of the Courts.

But we cannot, yet, afford to take these steps. We need a solid base of support. Then we need to invest in outreach and further growth, and then, we can begin to add tactics dealing with other aspects of the Downsize DC problem, including the Courts.

To get there, we need an army so big it can support all of these initiatives.

Growth is the key to everything, but real growth is difficult when you’re bootstrapping. Nevertheless, we are making progress.

Yesterday, we raised $647, reducing our March balance to $4,873.

Now here’s the really good news: Steven Dasbach, a high-school teacher and one of our co-founders, has pledged the final $1,000 to put us over the top, if we can raise $3,873 from the rest of you.

This means that every $2 you donate will be equivalent to $3 for So this is a great time to register your support.

For those who have yet to give in 2007, please, give generously and help us collect Steve’s contribution.

Thank you for your support,

Jim Babka
Downsize DC Foundation
&, Inc.

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