(UPDATED 06.19.10) HAS THE NRA GONE TO BED WITH THE DEVIL FOR A “CARVE-OUT”? H.R. 5175, the “DISCLOSE Act,”

CLICK THE PIC TO GO TO THE NRA SITE TO TELL THEM WHAT YOU THINK OF THIS!!

Below you will find the bulletin going around on the NRA’s actions on this Bill.  1st the bulletin, then the NRA response I got back.

Bulletin:

Dear C4L Member,

If you haven’t yet contacted your congressman and urged him to oppose H.R. 5175, the “DISCLOSE Act,” your action is needed RIGHT AWAY.

Our sources on the Hill say this bill to silence Campaign for Liberty is coming to the House floor this Friday for a vote.

Please read the following letter and take action to stop H.R. 5175 immediately.

– John Tate
President Campaign for Liberty

June 16, 2010

Dear Campaign for Liberty Member,

Once again, free speech and political liberty are under attack in Congress.  And this time they have a surprising (to some) assailant — the National Rifle Association.

In a minute, I’ll give you links to the sorry story and ask you to tell the NRA and your congressman you OPPOSE the freedom-killing DISCLOSE ACT, with or without the NRA’s deal.

You see, if there is one thing the establishment hates, it is watching its hand-picked candidates be held accountable for their records on liberty issues.

They want their Big Government power grabs to go unnoticed.

After watching some of their favorites go down in flames in race after race these past few months and seeing their statist schemes like Cap and Tax grind to a halt as a result of a massive uprising by liberty-loving Americans, they plan to strike back.

In a move that has dire consequences for our First Amendment right to freedom of speech and for Campaign for Liberty’s ability to fight for our freedoms, incumbent politicians have colluded with a super-sized establishment lobbying group, the National Rifle Association, to push H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE ACT, or as I like to call it, the “Establishment Protection Act,”  through the House of Representatives as soon as this week.

According to Politico, the NRA bargained for an exemption for itself and other large, established groups while trampling the rights of private citizens, new groups (like Campaign for Liberty), and small organizations.

As John Bresnahan reports, “The proposal would exempt organizations that have more than 1 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 NRA, with 4 million members, will not actively oppose the DISCLOSE Act, according to Democratic sources.”

RedState’s Erick Erickson mentions one of our Regional Conference sponsors when saying, “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.”

Another pro-gun organization friendly to Campaign for Liberty, the National Association for Gun Rights, said in a national email, “And frankly, this craven deal by the NRA will damage our gun rights and our free speech rights.”

As we hold politicians accountable and put them on record with our issue discussion program, the Establishment Protection Act will force organizations like C4L to turn over the names of their “top” donors for exercising our First Amendment rights.

You see, they are targeting groups like Campaign for Liberty because they think their “right” to hold office is more important than your rights to privacy and free speech.

Campaign for Liberty has experienced tremendous growth this past year, and the establishment knows we are out there every day fighting back against its statist power grabs.

They watch as we inform you which candidates support the Constitution and which candidates refuse to take a stand on liberty issues.

And they know we won’t play their Washington game of trading principle for power.  They want to silence us once and for all by going after our donors.

Campaign for Liberty will not be silenced, and we will lead the fight against the Establishment Protection Act so you have the right to speak freely without your name and personal information being turned over to Big Brother.

Call Representative Brian Baird at 202-225-3536 right away and INSIST they uphold your First Amendment right to free speech and vote against H.R. 5175, the Establishment Protection Act.

After you contact your representative, call the NRA headquarters at 1-800-672-3888 and their Legislative Action group at 1-800-392-8683 and let them know how you feel about their move to stab freedom organizations in the back.

Sincerely,

John Tate

President

NRA RESPONSE TO MY LETTER:

We appreciate some NRA members’ concerns about our position on H.R. 5175, the “DISCLOSE Act.”  Unfortunately, critics of our position have misstated or misunderstood the facts.

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’ 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 NRA provides critical firearms training for our Armed Forces and law enforcement throughout the country.  This bill would force us to choose between training our men and women in uniform and exercising our right to free political speech. We refuse to let this Congress force us to make that choice.

We didn’t “sell out” to Nancy Pelosi or anyone else.  We told Congress we opposed the bill.  As a result, congressional leaders made a commitment to exempt us from its draconian restrictions on free speech.  If that commitment is honored, we will not be involved in the final House debate.  If that commitment is not fully honored, 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 has a greater duty to principle than to gun rights.  It’s easy to say we should put the Second Amendment at risk over some so-called First Amendment principle – unless you have a sworn duty to protect the Second Amendment above all else, as we do.

The NRA is a bipartisan, 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.

Should you have any further questions or concerns please feel free to contact us again at any time.

Sincerely,
Michael Land
NRA-ILA Grassroots Division

—–Original Message—–
From: NRA Auto Responder [mailto:nra.auto-responder@nrahq.org]
Sent: Wednesday, June 16, 2010 1:08 AM
To: ILA-Contact
Subject: Contact from NRAHQ web site: Legislative and Legal Action Information

Contact type: Legislative and Legal Action Information.
Message: If the NRA signs off on the campaign finance bill, I will pull my membership from the NRA. The NRA is turning its back on free speech for a carve out. Whats more important, freedom, the 1st Amendment, or a carve out?  Before you do this, you had better explain your actions to the membership or the NRA will find itself devoid of members.  You had better listen up!!

ADDITIONAL COMMENT:

Local radio commentator, Lars Larson, yesterday, interviewed a high ranking NRA official on this subject and I hear it was a lively interview, but because of my schedule, I was unable to hear it.  I went to his website and found a free “teaser” about the interview, but in order to hear the interview itself, you must PAY to listen to any audio.  It appears Mr. Larson likes serving the public interests, as long as he is being PAID for it.   Nice Job Lars.  Mark Levin doesn’t charge because he is more concerned with getting the information out, than making money off of his audio.  But I guess Lars is more concerned with making money and padding his own pockets than really serving the public……

UPDATE 06.18.10

Dear C4L Member,

You have kept the pressure on Congress in order to defeat H.R. 5175, the “DISCLOSE ACT,” and it has worked.

For now.

Nancy Pelosi has canceled today’s scheduled vote on H.R. 5175, but our sources on the Hill tell us Pelosi and her statist cronies are biding their time in the hopes you will forget about their all-out assault to silence groups like Campaign for Liberty and sneak this bill through Congress next week.

It is more vital than ever that we keep the pressure on.  We need to drive a stake through the heart of this bill and make sure it does not rise from the dead.  Remember when everyone said ObamaCare was finished when Scott Brown got elected?

Please take a moment to read the following message and then IMMEDIATELY contact your congressman and demand he oppose H.R. 5175.  Even if you have called one or more times, PLEASE take a moment to send a loud, clear message again today.

– John Tate
President, Campaign for Liberty

June 16, 2010

Dear Campaign for Liberty Member,

Once again, free speech and political liberty are under attack in Congress.  And this time they have a surprising (to some) assailant — the National Rifle Association.

In a minute, I’ll give you links to the sorry story and ask you to tell the NRA and your congressman you OPPOSE the freedom-killing DISCLOSE ACT, with or without the NRA’s deal.

You see, if there is one thing the establishment hates, it is watching its hand-picked candidates be held accountable for their records on liberty issues.

They want their Big Government power grabs to go unnoticed.

After watching some of their favorites go down in flames in race after race these past few months and seeing their statist schemes like Cap and Tax grind to a halt as a result of a massive uprising by liberty-loving Americans, they plan to strike back.

In a move that has dire consequences for our First Amendment right to freedom of speech and for Campaign for Liberty’s ability to fight for our freedoms, incumbent politicians have colluded with a super-sized establishment lobbying group, the National Rifle Association, to push H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE ACT, or as I like to call it, the “Establishment Protection Act,”  through the House of Representatives as soon as this week.

According to Politico, the NRA bargained for an exemption for itself and other large, established groups while trampling the rights of private citizens, new groups (like Campaign for Liberty), and small organizations.

As John Bresnahan reports, “The proposal would exempt organizations that have more than 1 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 NRA, with 4 million members, will not actively oppose the DISCLOSE Act, according to Democratic sources.”

RedState’s Erick Erickson mentions one of our Regional Conference sponsors when saying, “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.”

Another pro-gun organization friendly to Campaign for Liberty, the National Association for Gun Rights, said in a national email, “And frankly, this craven deal by the NRA will damage our gun rights and our free speech rights.”

As we hold politicians accountable and put them on record with our issue discussion program, the Establishment Protection Act will force organizations like C4L to turn over the names of their “top” donors for exercising our First Amendment rights.

You see, they are targeting groups like Campaign for Liberty because they think their “right” to hold office is more important than your rights to privacy and free speech.

Campaign for Liberty has experienced tremendous growth this past year, and the establishment knows we are out there every day fighting back against its statist power grabs.

They watch as we inform you which candidates support the Constitution and which candidates refuse to take a stand on liberty issues.

And they know we won’t play their Washington game of trading principle for power.  They want to silence us once and for all by going after our donors.

Campaign for Liberty will not be silenced, and we will lead the fight against the Establishment Protection Act so you have the right to speak freely without your name and personal information being turned over to Big Brother.

Call Representative Brian Baird at 202-225-3536 right away and INSIST they uphold your First Amendment right to free speech and vote against H.R. 5175, the Establishment Protection Act.

After you contact your representative, call the NRA headquarters at 1-800-672-3888 and their Legislative Action group at 1-800-392-8683 and let them know how you feel about their move to stab freedom organizations in the back.

Sincerely,

John Tate

President

P.S. Thanks to all you’ve done for liberty, the establishment is scared, and it’s not pulling any punches to keep organizations like C4L from speaking out.

If you are able, please consider chipping in $10 today toward C4L’s efforts to push back against the statist agenda and guarantee legislation like H.R. 5175, which should be called the Establishment Protection Act, is soundly defeated.

UPDATED 06.19.10

Statement From David Keene, NRA First
Vice-President On H.R. 5175, The “DISCLOSE Act”

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.

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  1. #1 by Rick L. on 06/18/2010 - 9:12 am

    Judging by your response letter from the NRA it would appear that somewhere someone has somehow misinterpreted what the NRA is doing. I wouldn’t think that the NRA would sell out its supporters, that’s just plain not going to happen. If it does, well, then all hope is lost and its every man for himself because then you will know without a doubt the Socialist have 100% control over our country and there will be no reversing anything these Communist want and will do. The NRA is or used to be about America and its Freedom of speech and the right bear arms. Charlton Heston will roll over in his grave if the NRA turns on the American people. Like I have mentioned before, these Commies are dug into our government and agencies like a bunch of Alabama ticks and they are sucking the life blood out of America and the NRA is no exception. One thing that does bother me about the NRA is with all its support of the Constitution, if you look at their NRA store, I would venture to say that 75% of their products are made in CHINA. Why would they not buy products made in the good old U.S.of A? Isn’t that kinda hypocritical?

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