Lobbyist gets bell rung in reg revamp

DeLay turns tables on MoveOn.org campaign director

WASHINGTON — MoveOn.org, the liberal lobbying group that has roundly criticized the Federal Communication Commission’s new media ownership rules, got a taste of its own medicine last week.

The group’s members flooded the phone lines of House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) and Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas), who are blocking any effort to overturn the regs in Congress. The calls, numbering in the thousands, insisted the GOP leaders advance the rollback legislation already passed in the Senate and stop trying to save President Bush from making good on his promise to veto any effort repeal the rules.

But DeLay’s aides turned the tables on the lobbyists, forwarding the calls to the cell phone of MoveOn.org campaign director Eli Pariser.

Pariser said he only received a few calls but decided to change his cell phone voicemail to route the calls back to DeLay’s office.

“I have sympathy for people answering phones in Congressional offices,” Pariser said. “I don’t have any sympathy for Tom DeLay’s decision to block this vote.”

Pariser also noted that DeLay’s office hired a temp company to handle the deluge of calls, and he pledged that MoveOn would keep them coming in the final months of the Congressional session.

“We’ll keep it up until they schedule a vote on the floor,” Pariser said. “Given all the energy our members have put into this, we’re not going to get this far and drop the ball.”

Needless to say, phone calls to DeLay’s office seeking comment were not returned.

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