New lobbying effort making Capital District stops

We The People hopes to sign up 800k dues-paying New Yorkers

A newly formed organization billing itself as a nonpolitical Constitution Lobby will be making several stops in the Capital District in the coming days on a statewide tour aimed at building a large, dues-paying membership.

We The People of New York, which became incorporated last month, hopes to eventually sign up 800,000 members, or roughly 5 percent of the state's population. Similar organizations in varying stages of development exist in 17 other states, including recently incorporated organizations in Connecticut and Kentucky.

The general goal of the group is to ensure government is adhering to the articles of the federal and state constitution, said Director Robert Schulz. He envisions We The People hiring and training 1,240 "constitutional monitors," in his words, at locations all over the state. The monitors would report possible violations of the state or federal constitutions by government at all levels back to the organization's attorneys.

These monitors would be compensated with stipends, he continued.

"From experience ... we know that we're not going to be able to depend entirely on volunteers, that very often people who will be monitoring the behavior of say, the legislature or the county board, they'll need a stipend, something to help that person and his or her family, pay the mortgage or pay the phone bill or something," Schulz said.

If the organization was to meet its goal of 800,000 members, all paying $25 in annual dues, then it could conceivably be a sizable lobbying group, with a yearly bankroll of $20 million. A basic breakdown released by the group outlines using most of that to pay its constitutional monitors and the rest for funding attorneys, legal fees, overhead and the one-time cost of building or buying a headquarters, which is envisioned to be located in Albany.

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