The website is dedicated to urging Congress to make permanent Public Law 110-55, commonly called the Protect America Act, which is set to expire in February 2008. This statement on the homepage summarizes the apparent goal of the site:
"The tools provided by the Protect America Act are scheduled to expire in early February 2008 – it is essential that Congress act to make the legislation permanent."
Regardless of the merits or flaws in the Protect America Act, it is illegal for an Executive Agency to spend money lobbying Congress.
U.S. Code Title 18 Section 1913 makes it a crime for money appropriated by Congress to be used to directly or indirectly influence a Member of Congress, jurisdiction, or an official of any government to favor a law before or after its introduction. This is exactly what is happening on LifeAndLiberty.gov—a department funded by Congress is using those funds to publish a website that influences Congressional lawmaking.
The LifeAndLiberty.gov site has actually been illegally lobbying Congress since its inception under Alberto Gonzalez when the site focused on the Patriot Act. I was under the impression that the DOJ shake up was meant to take politics out of the job, but it seems that nothing has changed under the Acting Attorney General. In fact, the department has become more bold in its lobbying efforts with explicit statements like "Congress needs to act to provide such protection."
Former Attorney General Gonzalez was so proud of LifeAndLiberty.gov that he put is portrait on the homepage. In what direction will the nominee for Attorney General, Michael Mukasey, take the site?
If you believe that your tax dollars should not be spent by Federal web teams to lobby Congress, then help out with a 5-minute call to the Senator Russ Feingold’s staff at (202) 224-5323. I called several senators and found his staff to be the most friendly and receptive. Just let them know about your concern about LifeAndLiberty.gov.