Just Like A Bad Meal It Keeps Repeating

Just as a bad meal keeps repeating on you due to indigestion, so do the Democrats in the Senate keep bringing forth the DISCLOSE Act. After passing the House in the last Congress, it died in the Senate. It has been resurrected by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI). He introduced S.3369 this past Tuesday and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has scheduled it for a vote today. That is mighty fast action for a Senate that hasn’t bothered to pass a budget for the past three years.

Unlike in 2009, the NRA is opposing this bill. In fact, they are making a record vote for future candidate evaluations.

Next week, the United States Senate will once again take up the latest version of the DISCLOSE Act, in yet another attempt to curtail the First Amendment rights of Americans. The bill, S. 3369, has been fast-tracked on the Senate calendar and is set for a vote on Monday, July 16.

NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox sent a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), as well as all members of the Senate, expressing the NRA’s steadfast opposition to the legislation.

“Due to the importance of the fundamental speech and associational rights of the National Rifle Association’s four million members,” Cox wrote, “and considering the blatant attack on those rights that S. 3369 represents, we strongly oppose the DISCLOSE Act and will consider votes on this legislation in future candidate evaluations.”
You may read the full text of the letter here.
Provisions of the DISCLOSE Act that violate First Amendment rights include disclosure provisions that require organizations to turn membership and donor lists over to the government. In recent weeks, we have seen media attacks on political donors that illustrate the danger this legislation poses, and that expose its true intent: to stifle free speech.Also, the bill would create complicated regulation of political spending and campaign activity, creating immense costs to comply with the law and cause a severe chilling effect on free speech.

While the act would have minimal impact on some institutions, such as labor unions, its biggest impact would be limiting the ability of the American people to join together to make their voices heard on issues of every sort. It would also magnify the power of the mainstream media, severely limiting the information available to the American people and threatening the integrity of our electoral process.

Please contact your United States Senator before the Monday vote and urge him or her to vote against this assault on our First Amendment rights. You can find contact information for your U.S. Senators by using the “Write Your Representatives” tool at http://www.nraila.org/. You may also contact your Senators by phone at (202) 224-3121.

GOA or Gun Owners of America is also in strong opposition this bill. Leave it to the Democrats to find a way to unite the NRA and GOA. The GOA release is below:

Anti-gun Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (NV) really does not want gun owners’ voices to be heard in Washington, D.C.

Democrat leaders have scheduled a vote for Monday, July 16, on the so-called DISCLOSE Act.

You may recall that the DISCLOSE Act passed the House in 2010 but died in the Senate after an intense lobbying effort by Gun Owners of America and other groups.

The bill coming to the floor on Monday, S. 3369, sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, puts severe and unconstitutional limits on GOA’s ability to hold individual congressmen accountable in the months leading up to an election.

Instead of protecting the most important type of speech protected by the First Amendment — political speech — this bill would force groups like GOA to “disclose” the names of donors in certain political advertisements.

Since Gun Owners of America is not willing to disclose its membership lists to the Federal Election Commission, we could be prohibited from running radio or TV ads exposing a federal candidate’s voting record during the election season.

This is just another attempt by pathetic, anti-gun politicians like Harry Reid to save their jobs before the political earthquake in November strikes. Indeed, if GOA candidates are victorious in Senate races in November, Harry Reid will no longer be the Majority Leader.

And, as has been the case so often with Reid, there have been no committee hearings to debate the merits of the bill, thus the American people have no opportunity to see just how egregiously DISCLOSE violates the Constitution. In fact, the bill was introduces less than a week ago.

Please urge your Senators to protect ALL of the Bill of Rights. Remind them that your ability to protect the Second Amendment relies on the safeguards of the First Amendment.

ACTION: Contact your Senators and urge them to oppose the DISCLOSE Act. You can use the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center to send your Senators a pre-written e-mail message.

UPDATE: The Republicans actually hung together for once and prevented the Democrats from invoking cloture on the debate of the DISCLOSE Act. The vote was 51-44 and it needed 60 to pass. As to why the Democrats brought the bill forward at this time, the Daily Caller has this explanation.

Democrats revived the act during a presidential election campaign in which political action committees and nonprofit organizations, funded by deep-pocketed and largely anonymous contributors, are dominating the airwaves with largely negative political ads.

HR 5175 Passes House

Yesterday, the House of Representatives passed HR 5175, the DISCLOSE Act, by a vote of 219 to 206 with 8 not voting. The full title of HR 5175 is “Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections Act.” I can’t conceive of a more Orwellian title than that.

I wonder if the next jobs bill will be entitled the “Arbeit Macht Frei” Act.

A Pact with the Devil

On August 23, 1939, the Molotov-Ribbentrop Pact, as the Treaty of Non-Aggression between Germany and the Soviet Union was unofficially known, was approved by Stalin and Hitler. Less than two years later, Hitler unleashed Operation Barbarossa upon Stalin’s Soviet Union. Russian losses in the first few months, including killed, wounded, or taken prisoner, ran into the millions. This is what happens when you make a pact with the devil.

The NRA has made such a pact with the House Democrats on HR 5175, the DISCLOSE Act, in which in return for a carve-out exempting them from it provisions they will not oppose it. Congressman Heath Shuler (D-NC 11) has submitted an amendment to the DISCLOSE Act that will reportedly exempt 501(c)4 nonprofit political organizations that have “more than one million members, have been in existence for more than 10 years, have members in all 50 states and raise 15 percent or less of their funds from corporations”. The DISCLOSE Act is the Democrat’s reaction to the Supreme Court decision in the Citizens United case.

According to the Center for Competitive Politics, the DISCLOSE Act proposes legislation that:

would ban many companies from airing political ads, give candidates a windfall subsidy in ad time to respond to independent ads, regulate long-protected issue advocacy with more restrictive coordination rules and force nonprofits and trade groups to disclose their donors-even if donors don’t intend their funds to be used for influencing elections.

The NRA has obviously started to feel heat from conservative groups as well as their members. The NRA Institute for Legislative Action released this statement by email yesterday evening:

Statement From The National Rifle
Association On H.R. 5175, The Disclose Act

The National Rifle Association believes that any restrictions on the political speech of Americans are unconstitutional.

In the past, through the courts and in Congress, the NRA has opposed any effort to restrict the rights of its four million members to speak and have their voices heard on behalf of gun owners nationwide.

The NRA’s opposition to restrictions on political speech includes its May 26, 2010 letter to Members of Congress expressing strong concerns about H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act. As it stood at the time of that letter, the measure would have undermined or obliterated virtually all of the NRA’s right to free political speech and, therefore, jeopardized the Second Amendment rights of every law-abiding American.

The most potent defense of the Second Amendment requires the most adamant exercise of the First Amendment. The NRA stands absolutely obligated to its members to ensure maximum access to the First Amendment, in order to protect and preserve the freedom of the Second Amendment.

The NRA must preserve its ability to speak. It cannot risk a strategy that would deny its rights, for the Second Amendment cannot be defended without them.

Thus, the NRA’s first obligation must be to its members and to its most ardent defense of firearms freedom for America’s lawful gun owners.

On June 14, 2010, Democratic leadership in the U.S. House of Representatives pledged that H.R. 5175 would be amended to exempt groups like the NRA, that meet certain criteria, from its onerous restrictions on political speech. As a result, and as long as that remains the case, the NRA will not be involved in final consideration of the House bill.

The NRA cannot defend the Second Amendment from the attacks we face in the local, state, federal, international and judicial arenas without the ability to speak. We will not allow ourselves to be silenced while the national news media, politicians and others are allowed to attack us freely.

The NRA will continue to fight for its right to speak out in defense of the Second Amendment. Any efforts to silence the political speech of NRA members will, as has been the case in the past, be met with strong opposition.

 The NRA thinks of its own needs first and I understand that. They didn’t get to be the 800-pound gorilla of gun rights by being selfless. However, and I say this as a Life Member of the NRA, they are thinking in “Inside the Beltway” terms which may be tactically sound but strategically unwise. Local and regional gun rights groups who are much more agile in responding to state and local threats to gun rights will be hung out to dry.

Instead of playing with the Democrats, the NRA should heed the advice of Niccolo Machiavelli.

A prince, therefore, being compelled knowingly to adopt the beast, ought to choose the fox and the lion; because the lion cannot defend himself against snares and the fox cannot defend himself against wolves. Therefore, it is necessary to be a fox to discover the snares and a lion to terrify the wolves.

The Prince, Chapter XVIII

Those proposing the DISCLOSE Act are nothing but wolves and the NRA should make the vote on HR 5175 a graded vote. They need to be the Lion and quit trying to play the Fox.

UPDATE:  Pelosi has pulled the DISCLOSE Act.

UPDATE #2: Put up for a vote on June 24th and it passes.