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Democrats Take NRA Cash, Block Disclosure

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posted on Jun, 22 2010 @ 04:29 PM
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Democrats Take NRA Cash, Block Disclosure


www.huffingtonpost.com

A funny thing happened on the way toward shining a light on big money's influence in political campaigns. Apparently, the 53 House Democrats who get money from the NRA decided to stand in the way. Not on principle. They've got no problem with disclosure rules for big corporations, small corporations, unions, or advocacy groups in general.

And it's not because H.R. 5175 has anything to do with the Second Amendment or regulations on gun ownership. It doesn't.


(visit the link for the full news article)




posted on Jun, 22 2010 @ 04:29 PM
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Among other things, the DISCLOSE Act requires that advocacy groups reveal the major sources of funding for their independent expenditures late in the campaigns of federal candidates for office.

But in response to complaints by the NRA bosses who don't want to tell the public where their money comes from, the 53 Democrats who receive money from the NRA apparently insisted the bill be changed. This led to a "compromise" that exempts groups with more than a million members; and that raised 15 percent or less funding from corporations; that have members in all 50 states; and that have been around at least 10 years.

Funny thing, only one advocacy group actually involved in political campaigns - and one group alone - meets the new criterion. The NRA.

Please visit the link provided for the complete story.



I'm a big fan of the NRA (even though I think they are too heavy on regulation for fire-arm owners). I'm even a card-carrying distinguished life member of the organization, however I'm not a big fan of corruption and I'll call it when and where I see it, regardless of who that corruption influences. This is obviously corruption at it's best and a blatant example of what is wrong with our current system.

This has nothing to do with the 2nd Amendment or in my opinion, the NRA either, rather it has everything to do with the corruption that is rampant in our current government.

For the purposes of the point in this thread, lets just subtract the NRA and Democratic members of congress from the equation for a minute and lets leave those variables empty. Here, we have congress getting money from a special interest group and adjusting a proposed bill to benefit that special interest group. Not because it is better for America, but because it's better for their financial backer. What makes this a little more absurd, is that this particular bill was proposed to shine a little light on the organizations who finance federal political campaigns, the DISCLOSE (Democracy Is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections) Act.

--airspoon





www.huffingtonpost.com
(visit the link for the full news article)

[edit on 22-6-2010 by airspoon]



posted on Jun, 22 2010 @ 04:48 PM
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Look, you don't actually need disclosure to figure this out. All you need is some common sense.

Who stands to gain from NRA ?

Who has a mountain of cash to invest, and hope to make profits from this "investment"???

Maybe the Gun Industry?

Cha-Ching. $$$$



posted on Jun, 22 2010 @ 04:49 PM
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I agree with what you are saying that the NRA is just trying to hide who the support. I however do thing that we will be seeing more groups who meet those requirements for exemption. It is for that reason that I think the exemption should be stopped. Because things will be much worse when perhaps extremist groups can take advantage of that loophole.



posted on Jun, 22 2010 @ 04:56 PM
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ur right spoon
on the way to the truth and ending
corruption, both sides of the aisles
are gonna get stepped on, including
the middle.
Another quality thread as usual
S&F

but the corruption must end
across the board. No grandfather
clauses for loopholes in this
bushel of apples.



posted on Jun, 22 2010 @ 05:05 PM
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I don't understand. If you are going to pass this law, why are there any exemptions at all? Why should one organization be exempt because of their size and giving history? Shouldn't this law be truly neutral and affect everyone in order to be truly useful?



posted on Jun, 22 2010 @ 06:04 PM
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I just wanted to jump in and commend you. This is a good story, with a good view of what's happening presented by you. I say this because we disagreed on an earlier post, and I want you to know that it's because of the way you presented the information.

I posted this to my news feed on Facebook so all my friends could see the name of our representative on the list. Thanks for bringing this to light (and from the huff of all places!).



posted on Jun, 22 2010 @ 06:13 PM
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FWIW here's the statement from the NRA sent out after their members started in with the angry calls and emails:


I appreciate the concerns that some NRA members have raised regarding our position on H.R. 5175, the "DISCLOSE Act." Regrettably, our position has been misstated by some and intentionally misrepresented by others. I hope you'll allow me to provide the proper context.

The U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision was a significant victory for free speech and the Constitution. The NRA filed a strong brief in that case, which the Court specifically cited several times in its opinion. The DISCLOSE Act is an attempt to reverse that victory and that's why we told Congress we oppose it.

The NRA has never supported -- nor would we ever support -- any version of this bill. Those who suggest otherwise are wrong.

The restrictions in this bill should not apply to anyone or to any organization. My job is to ensure they don't apply to the NRA and our members. Without the NRA, the Second Amendment will be lost and I will do everything in my power to prevent that.

We believe that any restriction on political speech is repugnant. But some of our critics believe we should put the Second Amendment at risk over a First Amendment principle to protect other organizations. That's easy to say -- unless you have a sworn duty to protect the Second Amendment above all else, as I do.

The NRA is a single-issue organization made up of millions of individual members dedicated to protecting the Second Amendment. We do not represent the interests of other organizations. Nor do all groups fight all issues together. For example, we didn't support the U.S. Chamber of Commerce when it backed amnesty for tens of millions of illegal aliens and we did not join the Chamber in its support of President Obama's stimulus bill. And we've been in direct opposition when the Chamber has tried to restrict Second Amendment rights in publicly accessible parking lots.

Rather than focusing on opposing this bill, some have encouraged people to blame the NRA for this Congress's unconstitutional attack on free speech. That's a shame. If you oppose this bill, I hope you will contact your Member of Congress and Senators so they can hear from you.

I have been an NRA Board member for some years and currently serve as NRA's First Vice-President -- that you may know. What you may not know is that I have been in the forefront of the fight against liberal attempts to tilt the political playing field their way for decades through what they like to call campaign finance reform. This is a battle that began in the seventies when I put together the case that went to the United States Supreme Court known as Buckley v. Valeo. I was a vocal opponent of the so-called McCain-Feingold "reforms" that shackled groups like the NRA in recent years, and I have served as a First Amendment Fellow at Vanderbilt University's Freedom Forum.

I can assure you that I would never countenance a "deal" of the sort you think the NRA made with Congress to further Democratic attempts to restrict political speech. I consider such restrictions to be not only repugnant, but blatantly unconstitutional, an opinion shared by NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and Institute for Legislative Action Executive Director Chris Cox.

The so-called "DISCLOSE ACT" is a horrible piece of legislation designed to do exactly what you suggest. It would require advocacy groups to run a regulatory gauntlet designed to make it very difficult for many of them to play the role for which they were formed and is both bad policy and flies in the face of recent Supreme Court decisions.

But I'm afraid there's more . particularly how it would affect the NRA. When you think of the NRA you no doubt think mostly about the NRA's advocacy on Second Amendment issues, but the NRA also provides training to its members, law enforcement and military personnel, works with states, counties and private organizations to build ranges and runs competitive events such as those at Camp Perry in Ohio. Since Camp Perry is a military base, public monies go into range development and federal funds go to training military and police personnel, the NRA would be classed with government contractors and TARP recipients under the DISCLOSE ACT as originally written and effectively prohibited from engaging in any meaningful political activity.

In other words, this act as originally written by anti-gun legislators like New York Senator Chuck Schumer would have silenced the NRA .which would have been the death knell for the Second Amendment.

NRA has one major mission . to defend the right of its members and all Americans to Keep & Bear Arms as guaranteed by the Second Amendment. Therefore, the NRA served notice on Congress that since the act threatened our very existence, we were prepared to do anything and everything that might be required to defeat it unless it was changed so that we could continue to represent the views of our members in the public arena. The letter, sent on May 26, was public. The NRA did not engage in back room shenanigans, but told Congressional leaders quite clearly that we would do whatever we needed to do to protect the rights of our members and our ability to defend the Second Amendment.

Last week Democratic leadership in the House capitulated by agreeing to exempt the NRA from the act -- not in return for NRA support, but to avoid a political war that might cost them even more seats this fall.

I have to tell you that I never thought the Democrats would agree to this -- not because they have much regard for constitutional rights -- because I didn't believe their left wing would allow it. The events since their capitulation convince me that their fear of NRA retaliation forced them to take steps that split their coalition and could easily doom the whole bill.

Consider this: on Thursday night, California Senator Diane Feinstein, one of the most anti-Second Amendment members of the Senate, announced that she wouldn't support the DISCLOSE ACT if it exempted the NRA. By Friday some two-dozen left wing activist groups that had previously been pressing Congress to pass the bill announced that now they wanted it defeated.

The bottom line is that in refusing to risk its members' rights and the very survival of the Second Amendment, the NRA has also made it less rather than more likely that support for this terrible legislation will collapse and the free speech rights of every one of us will benefit.

We appreciate the concerns some NRA members have raised about our position on H.R. 5175, the "DISCLOSE Act." Unfortunately, the mainstream media and other critics of NRA's role in this process have misstated or misunderstood the facts. We'd like to set the record straight.

We have never said we would support any version of this bill. To the contrary, we clearly stated NRA's strong opposition to the DISCLOSE Act (as introduced) in a letter sent to Members of Congress on May 26 (click here to read the letter).

Through the courts and in Congress, the NRA has consistently and strongly opposed any effort to restrict the rights of our four million members to speak and have their voices heard on behalf of gun owners nationwide. The initial version of H.R. 5175 would effectively have put a gag order on the NRA during elections and threatened our members' right to privacy and freedom of association, by forcing us to turn our donor lists over to the federal government. We would also have been forced to list our top donors on all election-related television, radio and Internet ads and mailings -- even mailings to our own members. We refuse to let this Congress impose those unconstitutional restrictions on our Association.

The introduced version of the bill would also have prohibited political speech by all federal government contractors. The NRA has contracts to provide critical firearm training for our Armed Forces and law enforcement agencies throughout the country. The bill would have forced us to choose between training our men and women in uniform and exercising our right to free political speech. We refused to let this Congress force us to make that choice.

We told Congress we opposed the bill. Consequently, congressional leaders announced they would exempt us from its draconian restrictions on political speech. If that happens, we will not be involved in final consideration of this bill in the House. If it doesn't, we will strongly oppose the bill.

Our position is based on principle and experience. During consideration of the previous campaign finance legislation passed in 2002, congressional leadership repeatedly refused to exempt the NRA from its provisions, promising that our concerns would be fixed somewhere down the line. That didn't happen; instead, the NRA had to live under those restrictions for seven years and spend millions of dollars on compliance costs and on legal fees to challenge the law. We will not go down that road again when we have an opportunity to protect our ability to speak.

There are those who say the NRA should put the Second Amendment at risk over a First Amendment principle. That's easy to say -- unless you have a sworn duty to protect the Second Amendment above all else, as we do.

The NRA is a non-partisan, single-issue organization made up of millions of individual members dedicated to the protection of the Second Amendment. We do not represent the interests of other organizations. That's their responsibility. Our responsibility is to protect and defend the interests of our members. And that we do without apology.

Today, the fate of the bill remains in doubt. The House floor debate has repeatedly been postponed. Lawmakers and outside groups who once supported the bill, or took no position -- including the Brady Campaign -- have now come out against it because of the announcement regarding NRA.



posted on Jun, 22 2010 @ 06:15 PM
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reply to post by thisguyrighthere
 


It continues:


The outcome in the Senate is even murkier, as anti-gun Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) has announced her strong opposition to the proposed change.

No matter what may happen now, NRA members can be assured that protection of gun owners' interests will remain NRA's top priority. Please check in regularly at www.NRAILA.org for the latest news on this issue.


I'm no fan of the NRA. Too much politicking and not enough action. And when it seems there is action being taken it's always pro-registration and pro-restriction in a stupid attempt to get the hoplophobes to like them.



posted on Jun, 22 2010 @ 06:27 PM
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Oh thanks for the in depth info!

So this all boils down to this ( I guess?)

1) New regulations would classify the NRA as a Government Contractor because of it's work it has done with state,local, fed gov't in construction of ranges etc.

2) This would then prevent the NRA from participating in political activities.

Don't you love it when lawyers write everything super complex and it takes all day to read through it and figure out the SUPER SIMPLE BOTTOM LINE??

I know I hate it!

But here you go, that is what this all is about it seems!



posted on Jun, 22 2010 @ 06:34 PM
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No one finds it odd that it's democrats being targeted? Normally they are the ones leading the charge against the NRA. Heck the NRA even grades senators on their support of the 2nd amendment. This is quite fishy!



posted on Jun, 22 2010 @ 06:37 PM
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reply to post by muzzleflash
 


This thread here, was about congress finagling a bill to suit special interests, not necessarily the DISCLOSURE Act or NRA, though cited as an example. Whatever NRA's motives were, are irrelevant as congress acted on behalf of their financial backers instead of what they believed to be best for the country. I wasn't trying to argue the rights or wrongs with the DISCLOSURE Act or the NRA's opposition to it, rather congress' actions to suit the wishes of a special interest group, in direct contradiction to what they believe is best for the country, as stated by them.

--airspoon


[edit on 22-6-2010 by airspoon]



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