If steelworkers write letters to the editor advocating a tariff, or even if the steelworkers book a bus from their union local to Washington and have a few meetings with their representatives, they don’t suddenly become lobbyists. (And while our current lobbying laws are far from ideal, technically, you only have to register as a lobbyist if you are being paid to lobby and you spend more than 20% of your time doing so—hard to see how Schultz is going to fall into that category.)

Some of these points have been raised in the comments thread following Jarvis’s post. And defending himself there, Jarvis implies that he only intends the all-citizens-who-advocate-a-policy-must-register-as-lobbyists rule to apply to those with a “personal relationship with a member of congress.”

So, to every political spouse or friend of a politician who’s ever publicly expressed a view on a policy area (early childhood education, AIDS funding, guns, whatever) best get those registration forms in order!

Jarvis’s complaint seems like a too-clever debater’s parry, one that when held to the light is rather thin. Schultz’s proposal is weak too. But at least it was offered in good faith.

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Clint Hendler is the managing editor of Mother Jones, and a former deputy editor of CJR.