|DATE:||November 16, 2016|
|TO:||USF & NRA Members and Friends|
|FROM:||Marion P. Hammer|
|USF Executive Director|
|NRA Past President|
Marion P. Hammer, My View 7:48 p.m. EST November 12, 2016
In the Nov. 6 Democrat, Bill Cotterell used two of his First Amendment rights – freedom of speech and freedom of the press – to cast aspersions on some lobbying while attempting to protect other lobbying.
It appears that Mr. Cotterell supports local governments using taxpayer dollars to hire lobbyists to lobby against your rights and interests, but opposes lobbyists being paid by the private sector with private dollars to protect their interests.
The column is conspicuous lobbying against the Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran, with whom Mr. Cotterell apparently disagrees on this issue.
The issue is taxpayer dollars. Speaker-designate Corcoran doesn't believe taxpayer dollars should be used by local governments to hire lobbyists to lobby the Legislature; he called it “disgusting.”
I have been a registered lobbyist in Florida for over 40 years and I represent the views and interests of people who respect the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. More specifically, I represent people who want their Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms protected.
I don't get paid with taxpayer dollars. Yet almost without exception when I testify to protect Second Amendment rights, those who testify against me and against protecting your rights are lobbyists who are paid with taxpayer dollars. In short, your tax dollars are being used to lobby against your constitutional rights and best interests.
Those lobbyists are hired by local governments and government agencies who use taxpayer dollars to further the political agendas of government officials and by associations representing local governments.
In addition to local governments using taxpayer dollars to hire their own lobbyists to lobby the Legislature, they also use taxpayer dollars to pay membership dues and fees to associations like the Florida League of Cities and the Florida Association of Counties, who also lobby the Legislature on behalf of local governments. Taxpayer dollars are lining a lot of pockets to lobby against you, the taxpayer.
We elect representatives to the Legislature to represent us. We elect representatives to local government offices to represent us. Our tax dollars should not be used to pay for lobbying the political agendas of these local governments and officials.
As citizens, we can communicate our views to our own legislators and/or we can join private groups and private sector associations to lobby for us. But we certainly shouldn't allow taxpayer dollars to be used by any state or local government entity, government association or government official to lobby the Legislature.
Government officials using taxpayer dollars to lobby the Legislature against the people is wrong and needs to be stopped. Speaker-designate Richard Corcoran is right – it is disgusting.