Mowing Down the Grassroots

Grassroots lobbying—encouraging citizens to contact public officials in order to affect public policy—is quintessential representative democracy in action. However, as this report documents, sweeping lobbying laws in 36 states threaten to strangle grassroots movements in red tape and bureaucratic regulation. Such common activities as publishing an open letter, organizing a demonstration or distributing flyers can trigger regulation and force organizers to register with the government and file detailed reports on their activities, as well as the identities of supporters. These regulations raise the costs of political activity and set legal traps for unsuspecting citizens, thus making it more difficult for ordinary citizens to participate in politics—all with little or no benefit to the public.

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Economic Liberty | First Amendment | First Amendment Retaliation | Immunity and Accountability | Other Property Rights Abuses | Private Property

Virginia food truck owners file federal lawsuit after raging town councilmember damaged truck, town council repeatedly harassed them

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