NRA on H.R. 5175 - The Disclose Act

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NRA on H.R. 5175 - The Disclose Act

#1

Post by Charles L. Cotton » Tue Jun 15, 2010 2:52 pm

Here is a message from Chris Cox, Executive Director of NRA-ILA. I can't tell you now much gun owners owe Chris. He is doing a tremendous job for all of us and the sad fact is we see only a fraction of his work. While Chris is no stranger to TV and radio, the truth is most of what Chris does for gun owners never sees the light of day. We are truly blessed to have people like Chris Cox working for us literally every day. You don't put in the hours Chris does unless you are dedicated to the missions. God bless you Chris!

Chas.
Chris Cox wrote: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.

---nra---

http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Feder ... px?id=5888" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.wral.com/news/political/story/7782593/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: NRA on H.R. 5175 - The Disclose Act

#2

Post by joe817 » Tue Jun 15, 2010 3:38 pm

This was a real eye opener Charles! Thank you for posting this and I agree.....we owe much to Chris Cox.

Thank you Chris, on behalf of ALL gun owners in America! Your efforts are deeply appreciated. :patriot:

On a different note, it appears that the NRA is exempt from this "act":

"Under the proposed change to the legislation non-profits would be exempt from the disclosure requirements only if they have been in existence for a decade, have at least 1 million dues-paying members and do not use any corporate or labor union money to pay for their campaign-related expenditures." {bold emphasis is mine}.

I wonder what, if any, are the ramifications for the Brady campaign, in relation to this act?

(just a very mild passing curiosity)
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Re: NRA on H.R. 5175 - The Disclose Act

#3

Post by suthdj » Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:31 pm

So why do we need this new law in the first place? Is there a problem with free speech.
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Re: NRA on H.R. 5175 - The Disclose Act

#4

Post by Teamless » Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:46 pm

suthdj wrote:Is there a problem with free speech.
Depends on who you ask.
If you ask the current party "in control" and the current POTUS, yes, since people with their own brains are a threat to them.
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Re: NRA on H.R. 5175 - The Disclose Act

#5

Post by stroo » Tue Jun 15, 2010 4:49 pm

No offence Charles but this is bad deal. This bill should have been defeated in total. It closes down the ability of many smaller groups from engaging in political speech, the heart of the 1st Amendment. Maybe the NRA couldn't have done that but all it did was sell out to protect itself. I don't find this to be particularly praiseworthy. In my book, free political speech is at least as important as the 2nd Amendment.

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Re: NRA on H.R. 5175 - The Disclose Act

#6

Post by SwimFan85 » Tue Jun 15, 2010 7:46 pm

suthdj wrote:So why do we need this new law in the first place? Is there a problem with free speech.
In one of the State of Obama speeches, didn't he chastise SCOTUS for ruling in favor of the 1st Amendment?
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Re: NRA on H.R. 5175 - The Disclose ActWe are

#7

Post by Charles L. Cotton » Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:21 pm

stroo wrote:No offence Charles but this is bad deal. This bill should have been defeated in total. It closes down the ability of many smaller groups from engaging in political speech, the heart of the 1st Amendment. Maybe the NRA couldn't have done that but all it did was sell out to protect itself. I don't find this to be particularly praiseworthy. In my book, free political speech is at least as important as the 2nd Amendment.
No offense taken, but I disagree. Pro-gun Democrat House Members weren't about to support the bill if the NRA wasn't exempted from its terms. Thus, the Democrats in the House responded to NRA objections and crafted an amendment that exempts the NRA (and at least 3 other organizations). Yes, the NRA did what every person and organization would do if it could; it protected itself, our 4 million members and 80 million + gun owners. While some people argue that the NRA should have rejected the protection offered by the amendment, that is an unreasonable position to assert. If the NRA had rejected an amendment that protects it and its members, then every House Member and Senator would have been free to support the bill in its as-filed form. I know some people don't like this fact and others won't believe it, but that's political reality.

The NRA can't and shouldn't protect everyone, every organization, or every issue. We are the most powerful civil rights organization and we can move political mountains. However, we can move only so many mountains and each mountain consumes political capitol and folding money. The NRA didn't sell out anyone; it's not responsible for any organization other than the NRA, nor is it responsible for people other than its members.

Chas.

Edited to more accurately set out the bill's history.

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Re: NRA on H.R. 5175 - The Disclose Act

#8

Post by Charles L. Cotton » Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:23 pm

suthdj wrote:So why do we need this new law in the first place? Is there a problem with free speech.
We don't. The NRA didn't promote it or support it.

Chas.


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Re: NRA on H.R. 5175 - The Disclose Act

#9

Post by ea40ss » Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:39 pm

Thank you to the NRA! Keep up the good work.

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Re: NRA on H.R. 5175 - The Disclose Act

#10

Post by OldCannon » Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:57 pm

Charles L. Cotton wrote:
suthdj wrote:So why do we need this new law in the first place? Is there a problem with free speech.
We don't. The NRA didn't promote it or support it.

Chas.
I think this is a strong point, and one that should have been called out more effectively. They should take a more proactive stance at supporting efforts to repeal it, rather than carving out space for themselves. I understand _why_ the NRA did what it did, but what it looks like from the outside is the NRA using its power to carve out a position that's stronger than any other voice. I hope the NRA-ILA finds ways to stand behind what they've said about the first amendment and reach out and support institutions that don't have the same kind of clout.
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Re: NRA on H.R. 5175 - The Disclose Act

#11

Post by dayo » Wed Jun 16, 2010 12:26 am

I agree with Charles in that the NRA would by not cutting a deal, likely end up eventually spending member dues or other donations in an effort to negate the effects of this bill if it indeed passes in some form.

If anyone would like to have an entertaining read, I strongly suggest reading section 2, (b), 1-8. relating to the Legislative interest in preserving the virginal purity of government contracting and bid processes.

I find it quite cute that many politicians, in an effort to suppress their potential critics, support this type of legislation through all manner of verifiable falsehood and rhetorical and logical fallacies. My personal view on speech is that one should be unrestricted in their speech or their group's speech to the utmost extent that the content of the speech does not cause injury(libel/slander etc), great potential for injury (causing a panic by yelling fire in a crowded theater), or infringement on another's rights through coercive speech (blackmail, extortion, harassment). I think that politicians who would like to enact legislation which reduces our right to express our opinions however we so choose are begging to have their tenure reviewed.

Back off the rant - the NRA has an obligation to maintain it's very limited focus. By making a deal and refraining from negative commentary on this bill, the NRA fulfills it's promise to members in the short term and can more effectively allocate its resources to issues of primary concern in this election year. If the NRA didn't have a narrow focus, it would over time likely lose influence and political power because of the dilution of it's goals and reduced efficiency it would naturally sustain with an expanded scope.

The bill can be found here:
http://thomas.loc.gov/home/gpoxmlc111/h5175_rh.xml

The Wall Street Journal has an editorial today on this subject titled: "Guns and Free Speech: The NRA sells out to Democrats on the First Amendment." please find it below.
The National Rifle Association is suffering a sudden onset of amnesia this week, as the gun lobby cuts a deal to exempt itself from the latest Congressional attempt to repeal the First Amendment. NRA members may soon regret the organization's bid to ingratiate itself with Democrats at the expense of its longtime free-speech allies.

The campaign finance bill, sponsored by Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Chris Van Hollen, is the Democratic response to the Supreme Court's January decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which restored the First Amendment right of corporations, unions and nonprofits to make independent campaign expenditures. At the time, the NRA's Wayne LaPierre called Citizens United "a defeat for arrogant elitists who wanted to carve out free speech as a privilege for themselves and deny it to the rest of us."

Look who's arrogant and elitist now. Under the Schumer-Van Hollen bill, political speech would be bound up with new restrictions, including special burdens on government contractors and corporations that have a certain level of foreign ownership or received TARP funds. The bill also includes disclosure rules designed to hit corporations, requiring CEOs to appear to "approve this message" the way politicians do, and for groups to identify their donors. Except for the NRA.

Under the NRA carve-out in the House bill, the new rules won't apply to any organizations that have been around for more than 10 years, have more than a million members and receive less than 15% of their funding from corporate donors. That fits the NRA nicely, though as best we can figure, everyone else, from the Sierra Club to Planned Parenthood, fails to qualify. So much for defending the little guy against the fat cats.

This backroom deal came at the behest of Democrats from conservative states, for whom the NRA's scorecard of their legislative record can be a major boost or obstacle to election. Creating a special exception for the NRA, and thereby assuring the Democrats "good grades" on Second Amendment rights, eases the way for the bill to be passed. A failing grade on First Amendment rights is somebody else's problem.

By erecting what amounts to a grandfather clause of First Amendment rights, the bill creates a sort of interest-group incumbency, concentrating the power to speak freely among a handful of large and longstanding groups. Established organizations like the NRA provide important representation for their members, but their lobbying cause is specific and limited.

Left vulnerable by the special treatment are the smaller grassroots outfits that often pop up in response to new and immediate policy challenges. The ability of these groups to count on the full protection of the First Amendment is critical to diverse and responsive political debate.

The NRA may swing a big lobbying stick by virtue of the breadth and voting power of its members, but it draws its legitimacy from the Constitution and it has drawn support on gun rights from those who care about the entire Bill of Rights. Cutting a special deal at the expense of the First Amendment with lawmakers who have decided for now to stop gutting the Second Amendment reveals an NRA that is unprincipled and will be weaker for it in the long run.


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Re: NRA on H.R. 5175 - The Disclose Act

#12

Post by Mike1951 » Wed Jun 16, 2010 1:34 am

Given the choices available to the NRA, I agree with their actions.

Wouldn't this have been a more appropriate cause for the ACLU?
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Re: NRA on H.R. 5175 - The Disclose Act

#13

Post by surprise_i'm_armed » Wed Jun 16, 2010 2:14 am

Sure, the NRA cut the best deal it could for NRA members.
The NRA has to represent its own interests. It's not the national
police force for the 1st Amendment. Other interested parties will
have to belly up to the bar to protect the 1st Amendment.

I feel badly for all the groups which for some unclear reason, have
been muzzled by this new law.

Isn't the First Amendment supposed to be for all Americans??
What about the law/Amendment that says that all laws are
supposed to be enforced equally against all citizens?

The WSJ article didn't criticize the NRA for its pro-gunowners'
advocacy. But it did throw up a red herring, berating the NRA
for not taking on the whole political structrure in DC in order
to protect the First Amendment. Sheesh.

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Re: NRA on H.R. 5175 - The Disclose Act

#14

Post by Purplehood » Wed Jun 16, 2010 6:10 am

I see HR 5175 as a tool for intimidation against Free Speech, regardless of who makes up the current Administration. I think that it is unfortunate that the NRA felt that it could not simply oppose it in total, but settled for an exemption. I suppose I don't blame the NRA, but I am nevertheless disappointed.
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Re: NRA on H.R. 5175 - The Disclose Act

#15

Post by LarryH » Wed Jun 16, 2010 11:23 am

In a "ideal world", this bill, if passed and signed, would quickly be found unconstitutional.

I've never lived in an ideal world. Since the events of Genesis 3:6, no one has.

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