You cannot judge a book by its cover, and you cannot judge the intent of legislation just by the title of the bill. Many legislative proposals sound good, only to hold policy ideas that could limit Constitutional rights or devastate our economy. In this episode, Linda interviews well-known author and news commentator, John Fund, to take a deeper look into details of the “For the People Act,” which would totally transform our election system, and the “Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO) Act,” which would alter labor relations and limit a worker’s ability to privately choose whether or not they care to join a union. Both proposals would jeopardize freedoms for American citizens and impact businesses across the country. Take a deeper look (or listen) and share your opinion with elected officials. Your freedom depends on you!
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Linda: Hello, my special guest is John Fund, the National Affairs Columnist for National Review Magazine. He’s also the editor for the Committee to Unleash Prosperity Newsletter, which I highly recommend, and he’s a well-known columnist, author, and news commentator. Today, I specifically asked him to be here because of his experience with all things related to election integrity. Since, the For The People Act, H.R.1, deals extensively with our voting rights, I knew John would be the expert that could help all the listeners understand what’s at stake with this legislation. So, thank you John for being here.
John: Of course, Linda, and I have to say it is so commendable that you’re letting your listeners know about this piece of legislation. In my 40 years of reporting from Washington. It is the single worst bill that I ever looked at and studied.
Linda: I heard that from so many that this bill is by far the most damaging to our freedoms and that it is a horrible piece of legislation. It’s very destructive and I’ve told people that the For the People Act is definitely not for the people. The one thing that I hope all the listeners will remember is that just because something sounds patriotic or has a generous sounding title, it does not mean that what’s hidden inside the bill is actually good legislation.
John: Well, let’s start with the part of the bill that doesn’t get much coverage. It’s the free speech and basically political debate parts. This would authorize the IRS to engage in partisan activity. It would permit them to investigate and consider the political positions of nonprofits before granting them tax exempt status, thus enabling them to target organizations engaging in politically incorrect views. It would establish, believe it or not, a commission to protect democratic institutions. This would be given the authority to compel judges to testify and justify their legal decisions threatening their independent judgement and subjecting them to political pressure and harassment. It would require all nonprofits to disclose all of their donors and all of their activity, lobbying, or petitioning of the government. These provisions alone led the American Civil Liberties Union, which you know has become a very left-wing organization, to write a thirteen-page letter urging all members of congress to vote against H.RR.1 simply on the free speech grounds.
Linda: That’s amazing. That is truly amazing. And I think people don’t realize the far-reaching implications of this and you know you listed some bullet points there that as we look at how it affects our daily life. I mean this is truly government overreach in every way, shape, and form. One thing I want to go back and think about is the non-profits that you mentioned and exposing names of donors and everything. This is really something that really does interfere with our free speech. But it also really interferes with our freedom to support causes in which we believe. H.R.1 is having government tell us what they’ll approve of and what they won’t. If they don’t approve, then we can’t do it.
John: As you know, many non-profits have both the political arm that allows some lobbying and also an educational arm to try to tell people about the issue and their perspective on it. This would require anyone donating to any of these non-profits to disclose their name, address and information disclosed. In a cancel culture environment like we have now, I can see all kinds of problems with that. That no unpopular cause or causes that could be labeled as politically incorrect would ever be able to raise any money,
Linda: It’s a real danger and we know that in the past some previous administrations have targeted non-profits and especially conservative non-profits or activist’s organizations and not allowed them to have their nonprofit status because it didn’t agree with the messaging. And so, we’re seeing that cancel culture affect it now and we’re seeing this threat in this legislation. Could you address also, what it does in terms of voter ID requirements or the lack of voter ID requirement, the lack of citizen requirements or citizenship requirements? I know it’s allowing felons to vote.
John: Yes. I think the most familiar provision of the bill for your listeners, would be that the 32 state voter ID laws would effectively be canceled because they would force states to allow individuals to vote without an ID and merely sign a statement saying they are who they say they are. The Constitution, as you know, has a provision that gives the states the power to conduct their own elections. There’s an opt out in case the state goes rogue and starts preventing people from voting. And we certainly had a civil rights struggle of the 1960’s which required federal intervention, but this would eviscerate state laws and basically federalize them and not just voter ID laws. It would require the states to allow felons to vote. It would prevent election officials in every state from checking the eligibility and qualifications of voters and removing ineligible voters from their voter rolls. In fact, no voter roll could be changed or altered within six months of an election. It would require states to count ballots cast by voters outside their assigned precincts. It would require the states to automatically register anyone on the government list - whether it’s unemployment, welfare, driver’s license or anything else. I mean, obviously many, many people have their name on many government lists that would cause incredible duplication, chaos and the potential for fraud if multiple people with the same name are listed. And It would hurt voter turnout because it would mandate 15 days of mandated early voting. Basically, the states would have their hands tied as to whether they can do anything regarding voting without asking the federal government’s permission. There would be online voter registration. Now some of these are sold on the basis of, well it would improve voter turnout, but all of these things have been tried in various states. And what really drives voter turnout is good candidates. And we saw that, or candidates that provide a contrast. We saw that in the last election with Trump and Biden. The mail in voting, many people shifted to mail in voting but there’s no evidence that mail in voting increased voter turnout. And by removing election safeguards, which prevent mail in votes from being misused by watering down the requirements that they be validated we are going to undermine confidence in the election. This is serious Linda. Did you know 2/3 of the American people believe that one of the last two elections was stolen or invalid or couldn’t be trusted? Now, 1/3 of Americans think it happened to Hillary Clinton in 2016 and of course they still believe in Russia-gate and things like that. And 1/3 believe that Donald Trump had the election stolen out from under him by mail in voting and other means. So, if 2/3 of American people have given up on a central tenant of our democracy, the legitimacy of elections, this law is only going to make it matters much worse.
Linda: I agree. It only increases the ability for voter fraud and disenfranchisement to happen in a sense. Could you address the illegals voting as well with this?
John: Well, effectively, what this law does, is it makes it a crime to raise objections or to call into question the validity of anyone’s vote and the election wording is so broad that someone that says in TX or AZ or CA well I’m very concerned about non-citizens voting and we have to take steps to prevent that, they could be guilty of a crime. They could be guilty of a crime just in calling into question the legitimacy of some votes. And this is outrageous. This basically means Americans would be forced to keep silent if they see or if they fear compromising of our election systems. I mean, I never heard of anything like this. Voter intimidation or coercion is one thing. We want to stop that, but under this law you would prevent providing any information to election officials about the ineligibility of an individual you couldn’t do it. It would be a potential crime.
Linda: That is just outrageous. You are correct. I can’t even imagine this happening in America. The thing about it is in the media and things, it’s cloaked to be positive and people need to read the bill. They need to go in and look at the fine points or look at some work that you’ve done and columns you’ve written or others where it really goes through the bullet points of the bill, because most Americans wouldn’t even believe that this is even happening. Most Americans you know in their daily life would not think that legislation like this could actually be even considered in America, but this and many more pieces of legislation like it are being considered in America. So, it’s very, very important for people in America to wake up and look at the fine print and find out exactly how we can combat this. I really appreciate you bringing that up. This is the time. Let’s not wait until we don’t have the opportunity to share our voice. Now is the time so it’s very, very important. This has gone through the House but it’s going to the Senate and it’s very important for people to reach out to their senators and let them know that they oppose this legislation. What do you think will happen with it as it goes into the Senate?
John: I believe it ultimately, as the whole package, it’s not going to become law. The danger is that they will break it up in the Senate into five or six smaller pieces and try to pass two or three of those through, and of course if the House agrees with that and they would, under Speaker Pelosi, President Biden will sign anything that reaches his desk. So, we may avoid all of H.R.1, but we may end up with enough of it that it still dramatically undercuts the legitimacy of our elections.
Linda: Right. The phrase “death by a thousand cuts” is coming to mind here. Because even if they don’t pass it in its entirety, if they just continue to bring forth those policies that are in that legislation, and they bring them up through many things, it’s almost a dizzying amount of legislation and things that people have to keep track of. And you know, for the regular person in America that’s busy being a dentist, or a doctor, or a teacher, or a business person; they feel overwhelmed sometime by this onslaught of legislation, but now is the time. If I would tell my listeners and anyone that with the belief that if you are truly concerned about this country, now is the time to step up to the plate and let your voice be heard. And it’s important to email or write your elected officials. It is important to call of course, but please do email or write because that goes into a permanent record and that’s a very important piece of making our voice heard. So, don’t let them intimidate you, listeners. Make sure your voice is heard. We are watching as Dr. Suess and you know Kermit the Frog and I think or the Muppets and many other…
John: Mr. Potato Head!
Linda: Mr. Potato Head! Yes! It’s just amazing to think how far they are going to change our culture and it’s heartbreaking. It’s absolutely heartbreaking.
John: Well Linda, one piece of good news is you know the far left has gone so crazy, people are catching on and I think the smarter members of their leadership have decided; you know we’re going to have to try to pass everything we possibly can while we have the political power because otherwise people will catch on. There will be a backlash and we will be the poorer for that, so I believe if we can stop them, if we can hold this off, we can start rolling back some of the other things they’re doing in terms of taxes and regulation, because the mid-term elections are only 18mo away, and already the democrats are nervous that with redistricting and the traditional collapse and support for a ruling party after its first two years in office, they’ll lose control of the House and perhaps even the Senate. So, fighting this isn’t just fighting it. It’s presenting an opportunity for us to fight on a whole range of other fronts if we can buy enough time.
Linda: Exactly, it’s making sure we don’t allow them to have permanent change that we can’t rebound from when we get more control in the legislature. So, I really believe that H.R.1 and other legislation like this this is obviously their first agenda item when they came into power again, but there are so many pieces of legislation that we need to pay attention to, and as we look at this new administration, we have schools closed but the border wide open, we have a fence being taken down and no more building on the border of our country but there’s a fence around the capital. We have you know illegals voting and election fraud occurring, however if we bring it up they’re talking about laws that will criticize us or you know actually penalize us for speaking up. I mean this is just, I’ve heard many people say they feel like their living in the matrix or I’ve often said it’s like living in a Tom Clancy novel, but it’s now or never for Americans to step up to the plate and pay attention to what’s happening; and so I really appreciate the fact that you continue, to put out information through the Committee to Unleash Prosperity Newsletter, through your other writings, through everything you say and through here. We have to keep informing people because our republic is in balance. Would you have time John to just touch on another issue at all? I know your time is a little short but…
John: Sure. Go ahead.
Linda: Thank you. We have talked before we started recording about the Pro Act. The protecting the right to organize act. For our listeners, this is H.R. 2474 in the House and S.1306 in the Senate. This act is really important to understand because it would drastically alter labor relations in the United States and unfairly punish both employers and employees. Would you like to expand on that a little bit and explain to people why opposition to the Pro Act is so important for American workers?
John: One of the ways in which states complete with other states to get jobs and investment is of course to provide a better business climate and one of the items that is constantly brought up is plant relocations or business moves is whether or not a state is a right to work law which gives private sector employees the freedom to choose whether they wish to be members of a union and pay fees out of their paychecks. Twenty-eight states have given workers that right. That freedom has been recognized by the U.S. Supreme Court, even for public sector employees. So, this H.R.2474, the Pro Act would eliminate all right to work laws. In 28 states snap of a finger it would slant organizing efforts heavily in favor of unions. It would infringe on privacy of workers by requiring employers to provide lots of employee contact information to unions for organizing efforts including personal phone numbers. It would enact the damaging joint employer standard that undermines franchising models, (gig) economy workers, contractor-subcontractor arrangements. The same things that were done in CA and the Uber and Lyft and other companies took the legislature’s passage of similar legislation to the ballot box. They had a referendum on it. And 58% of people in liberal CA rejected that. It lost in almost every county and now having suffered a huge defeat on these issues in CA, our largest and most liberal state, they’re trying to do it nationally without a vote of the people.
Linda: It’s amazing to me, and especially when you think of how much support the Right To Work laws have had across the country and how much it has meant to the American worker and to employers actually, so we really urge the listeners to please go take a look at HR2474 or S1306 it protecting the right to organize act, the Pro Act. This is a really, another I should say really important piece legislation that is being promoted and again it impairs our freedom, our freedom to choose, our freedom to really choose our destiny in a sense and our economic freedom.
Our guest John Fund had to leave the interview a little abruptly, but I wanted to make sure you knew where to find his writings. You can go to NationalReview.com or to CommitteeToUnleashProsperity.com and there you’ll find his columns, writings, you can also find his books where-ever books are sold, so please do follow up. Read more of what he has to say on these important pieces of legislation as well as all the issues of the day. He’s truly an expert, especially when it comes to election integrity so that is so important as we move forward. It’s important for all of us as we educate ourselves and be Informed, Involved and Impactful™.
With that I say thank you so much for joining us today and thank you again to our guest, John Fund.