A group dedicated to the Declaration of Independence clause that all men “are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness,” has grown to include more than 60,000 citizen activists in its two short years of existence.
Based in Falls Church, Va., the Liberty Committee brings together members of Congress and American citizens in a grass-roots effort to reduce the size and scope of government. Rep. Ron Paul, R-Texas, is honorary chair of the group, which partners with the congressional Liberty Caucus. The latter boasts both current and former congressional representatives as its members, while the former is made of ordinary citizens.
The Liberty Committee has seen tremendous growth since it was founded concurrently with the congressional Liberty Caucus.
“During the last two years, Liberty Committee activists and Liberty Caucus members joined forces to defend and advance liberty by being actively involved in our national legislative process. Executive orders, national sovereignty, and privacy were the issues that called for our greatest efforts during these last two years. I am pleased to tell you that our efforts met with success,” wrote Paul in an open letter to current and prospective Liberty Committee members.
From the Liberty Committee’s website, members have the opportunity to keep abreast of current legislative proposals key to the cause of liberty. They can also electronically sign and send letters to representatives, lobbying their causes.
This year, those causes included the repeal of the 16th Amendment, which authorized income taxes in 1913. Members are also advocating a repeal of withholdings taxes. If successful, employers will no longer be required to confiscate taxes from employees’ paychecks and route the funds to the IRS. Citizens would have to pay their total tax liability without intervention by employers – a move that would create renewed awareness of dollar amounts individuals pay to their government, proponents say.
Liberty Committee members are also asking President George W. Bush to “rescind the signature of the United States of America to the International Criminal Court Treaty that former President Clinton authorized on December 31, 2000.” The ICC has been ratified by 36 countries so far. Once 60 countries have ratified the treaty creating the court, the new judicial body will formally be established. Clinton claimed he signed the treaty to ensure the United States is included in formation of the court’s procedures. But Republican leadership in Congress has vowed not to ratify the treaty, however, should Bush submit the proposal for legislators’ consideration.
In response to growing worldwide support for the ICC – Canada ratified the treaty last July – and to the increasing role of the United Nations in American policy, Liberty Committee members have banded together to support H.R. 1146, the American Sovereignty Restoration Act. The bill would withdraw the United States from the United Nations and prohibit U.S. armed forces from serving under U.N. command.
Liberty Committee Executive Director Kent Snyder summed up the phenomenon that drives the group in a letter he wrote Wednesday.
“One thing politicians will fight to keep is power, whether that power is stolen from the people or not. As long as the people are asleep, politicians get away with their illicit power grabs. One power grab leads to another, and too soon, the people are without liberty because piece by piece, they let their political power slip away,” he wrote Wednesday.
The letter continues with an explanation of the constitutional limits of campaign-finance reform measures. Paul believes opponents to proposals such as the McCain-Feingold campaign-finance reform measure are correct when they say such measures are unconstitutional. The bills violate the First Amendment, says Snyder, making them illegal.
“The Constitution specifically does not give to representatives and senators the power to make laws affecting campaigns so they cannot control the outcome of their own re-elections (and for good reason!). But how many Washington politicians will stand on the floor of the House or Senate and admit the truth … that the only power they have is that limited, specific power granted by the Constitution?” he wrote.
In addition to the Liberty Committee’s congressional membership, the group’s senior legal adviser is attorney Herb Titus, who holds a Harvard law degree. Titus taught constitutional law, common law and other subjects for nearly 30 years at five different American Bar Association-approved law schools. He also served as the founding dean of the College of Law and Government at Regent University in Virginia. Titus has also worked as a trial attorney and counsel for the U.S. Department of Justice.
Paul describes the citizen members of the group, saying, “These activists for liberty are Americans; divided not by race, gender, education, occupation, geography, religion or national origin, but united by the knowledge that liberty improves the well-being of every person.”