Friday, June 18, 2010

NRA and the DISCLOSE Act part 2

As I noted last night, the bill is dead for the time being. Some people are touting this as a win for the NRA, others are claiming this as a victory by all of the other groups that objected to the NRA carve-out.

First, let me re-iterate that I am opposed to the NRA removing their objections to the bill once they got their exemption. Their agreement to sit on the sidelines is a tacit acknowledgment that their objections had the potential to kill the bill. Although I don't like it, I do understand it.

Now, a little truth is in order.

Representative Heath Schuler (NC "A"-rated Democrat) offered an amendment that would have exempted all of the 501-c-4 groups from the requirements. Doing so would expose primarily the 527s (who are not non-profits) and the corporations to the rule's remaining provisions. This doesn't sit well with the Blue Dogs (for business reasons), or the left fringe (because they are the primary users of the 527 rule).

This amendment is defeated.

So, Chris Van Hollen (MD "F"-rated Democrat) carves out an exemption for the NRA, The Humane Society, and the AARP. The NRA stands down their opposition, and the left blogosphere howls that the Dems are caving to the "Evil Gun Lobby". The Gun blogosphere howls that the NRA sold out, and nobody is happy. At no time did the NRA EVER support this bill. That much is clear. The NRA might have been tone-deaf, but they didn't ever support this box of fail.

The bill gets tabled.

So, what really happened? Nothing, yet. If the NRA objects, and scores this vote, wobbly centrist and Blue Dog Dems will vote against. If the NRA sits this one out because of the exemption, the hard-core left Dems will vote against because their favored groups still have to comply. The Right will object to this bill no matter what.

So what next?

Well, if the AFL-CIO and Sierra Club get their way, then more carve-outs will be forthcoming. This will continue until this bill can get finely-tailored to enough Democrat's satisfaction that the votes are there for passage. At which point we are back to the courts again.

May I make a suggestion to the Democrat leadership? Let it go. Drop this issue and quit trying to stifle political speech. Quit trying to muzzle your critics and protect your incumbents.

Infringing the rights of citizens, so you can hang onto political power, will only end badly.

My $0.03, tax included.



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