Please read the following news report from the online newsletter
NewsScan. http://www.newsscan.com . It's an excellent daily
newletter mostly about technology. I've been reading it for years.
WASHINGTON FLOODED WITH E-MAIL
U.S. lawmakers last year received 80 million e-mail messages from
constituents and special-interest groups, most of which were routinely
ignored, according to new study by the Congress Online Project. The number
of e-mail messages to Congress has more than doubled in two years, says
the group, with senators receiving as many as 55,000 messages per month.
And while millions of the messages originate from constituents concerned
about Medicare reform, tax cuts and other issues, the study attributed the
e-mail explosion in large part to advocacy groups and corporations that
increasingly use the Internet to lobby lawmakers day and night,
overloading congressional computers and staff. "Rather than enhancing
democracy--as so many hoped--e-mail has heightened tensions and public
disgruntlement with Congress," says the report. "A growing number of
citizens are increasingly frustrated by what they perceive to be Congress'
lack of responsiveness to e-mail. At the same time, Congress is frustrated
by what it perceives to be e-citizens' lack of understanding of how
Congress works." The study urges grassroots lobbyists to adopt a "code of
conduct" to curb mass e-mailings to lawmakers and also suggests the
federal government to provide lawmakers with additional resources so they
can buy new software and hire staff to answer electronic messages.
According to the study, it could cost each office $50,000 or more for
hardware and software. (Reuters/CNet 18 Mar 2001)
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