Campaign Finance Reform Doesn’t Kill People, People Kill People

John Bresnahan at Politico:

House Democrats have offered to exempt the National Rifle Association from a sweeping campaign-finance bill, removing a major obstacle in the push to roll back the Supreme Court’s Citizens United ruling.

The NRA had objected to some of the strict financial disclosure provisions that Democrats have proposed for corporations and politically active nonprofits and that had kept moderate, pro-gun Democrats from backing the legislation.

But if the NRA signs off on the deal, the bill could come to the House floor as early as this week. The NRA said it would not comment until specific legislative language is revealed.

An NRA official also noted that the group would not be supporting the bill but would not actively oppose it if the deal with the Democratic leadership holds up.

The legislation in question is designed to restore more campaign finance rules in the wake of last year’s Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which removed prohibitions on corporations and unions running TV ads opposing or backing candidates in the run-up to an election.

Jay Newton-Small at Swampland at Time:

The new legislation, which could come to the floor as early as this week, had been hung up over NRA objections. The compromise would exempt organizations with more than one million members that are active in all 50 states and raise 15% of their funds or less from corporations. In other words, they’re going to regulate all the little guys, but not the NRA or the biggest players. Seems, er, effective.

Josh Harkinson at Mother Jones:

The deal falls short of what campaign finance watchdogs wanted, but would probably be a net gain for Democrats. According to Politico:

The new agreement would exempt organizations that have over 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, from the disclosure requirements.

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The deal with the NRA smoothes the road for the bill’s passage in the House, where pro-gun Democrats had feared pissing off the powerful group. But it would still face hurdles in the senate, where it could face major procedural roadblocks from Republicans.

Aaron Weiner at Washington Independent:

Two weeks ago, we ran a piece on lobbying efforts to derail the DISCLOSE Act, which would roll back the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision by forcing companies that finance campaign ads to issue disclosure messages. One of the main opponents of the measure was the National Rifle Association, which naturally didn’t want to tack a “we’re the NRA, and we approve this message” onto every TV spot it funded.

Well, it seems the NRA has gotten its way

John Samples at Cato:

I wonder what principle of campaign finance regulation justifies this exemption? Earlier the authors of DISCLOSE said the American people deserve to know who is trying to influence elections. Now it would seem that voters only need information about relatively small, young, geographically-confined organizations that receive more than 15 percent of their money from corporations.

There is no principle at stake here. The NRA had enough support to stop the DISCLOSE Act. House leaders had to compromise by cutting the NRA a deal, a special exemption from the proposed law. The deal does show, if nothing else, that House Democrats are really worried about new money entering the fall campaign. They are willing to go a long way — even as far as helping the NRA — to make sure other speech funded by businesses and groups is not heard.

Finally, imagine you are a member of a group not exempted from DISCLOSE. You have been treated unequally by Congress.  The courts have said Congress can treat you unequally if they show that this exemption  for the NRA has a rational relationship to an important government purpose.  How does exempting older, bigger, more widespread groups with less than fifteen percent corporate funding help Americans cast an informed vote?  Put another way, if the NRA deserves an exemption, doesn’t everyone?

Erick Erickson at Redstate:

There are few organizations purportedly on the side of freedom that aggravate me more than the National Rifle Association.

In fact, these days I cringe when I see good conservatives with their lifetime member sticker from the NRA on the back of their cars. I support Gun Owners of America, which is a consistent and uncompromising defender of the second amendment, not a weak little girl of an organization protecting itself while throwing everyone else under the bus.

But that’s what the National Rifle Association is doing. You and I are willing to stand together because we know we either stand together or hang separately. The NRA legislative strategy in the past few years has been to hang everybody else so they can be the last man standing — more interested in maintaining the veneer of bipartisanship than actually standing up for the second amendment.

[…]

So if you are a small organization that just started up to defend freedom, you are screwed. But if you’ve been collecting a large file of members for decades off the image of Charlton Heston while repeated screwing conservatives, you’ll be safe.

This is just the NRA not wanting competition for itself. If they were really committed to freedom, let alone the second amendment, they should be encouraging more freedom loving, second amendment loving organizations to rise and fight. Instead, they are collaborating with the left to shut out competition.

Remember, the NRA had to be cajoled into opposing Sotomayor.

The NRA refused to oppose the most anti-gun Attorney General nomination in American history.

The NRA supported Dede Scozzafava and it attacked Marco Rubio.

Now the NRA is endorsing the Democrat in Ohio against John Kasich while collaborating with the Democrats on restricting the freedom of speech.

Remember, the NRA also opposed taking the Heller case to the Supreme Court because it was too scared of what might happen.

Gun Owners of America never compromises on the Second Amendment.

The one bit of good news here is that Mitch McConnell is a serious first amendment advocate and while I’ve been open with my criticisms of him, he and I typically stand shoulder to shoulder on this issue and I hope he’ll kill it off in the Senate.

Hans A. von Spakovsky at The Corner:

So, the NRA may end up providing the lobbying grease that allows this noxious and partisan piece of legislation to slide through the House, something that I seriously doubt most of the individual members of the NRA (who are strong believers in the First Amendment as well as the Second) would agree with.

UPDATE: Bill Scher and Matt Lewis at Bloggingheads

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1 Comment

Filed under Guns, Legislation Pending, The Constitution

One response to “Campaign Finance Reform Doesn’t Kill People, People Kill People

  1. Pingback: What We’ve Built Today « Around The Sphere

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