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bwiese
06-15-2010, 8:15 PM
This is relayed for general circulation from our CA NRA leader H Paul Payne, in turn releasing a message from NRA's Chris Cox.

Without further ado (or edits - except for minor reformatting)

Paul requests that if this is forwarded, it's forwarded completely (i.e, down to the last dotted line below) and without editing.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Tue, 15 Jun 2010
To: NRA Members' Councils of California
From: "H. Paul Payne"
Subject: PLEASE READ: RE: H.R. 5175, the Disclose Act

To All MCs:

There has been a lot of chatter on the Internet regarding H.R. 5175, the Disclose Act and NRA's position on this
federal legislation. I have included a letter (below) from NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris Cox, that explains NRA's
position on H.R. 5175.

Since that letter was sent to Congress, numerous reports are stating that NRA's objections have been addressed
in order to remove NRA's possible/likely opposition to H.R. 5175.

Please remember that legislative politics is a very complex situation that rarely is as simple as it might seem to some.
I won't attempt a lesson in "political realities" with this message, mostly because most of the Members' Councils
activists are much more politically astute than the average person. But please take notice that sometimes, legislators,
groups, and individuals will oppose an amendment -- thereby killing a bill -- instead of allowing something favorable to
a group they don't like, in this case -- the NRA. ;-)

Currently, reports from Washington, D.C. state that liberal groups such as Sierra Club and others, are very upset and
not supporting H.R. 5175 because of the NRA. This might cause the whole thing to fail, and if it doesn't, WE (the NRA)
will have an organization that will live to fight another day as opposed to one that is muzzled.

Fighting hard is necessary. But to win, we must also fight smart!

There is much more to this story, but I think you can see that the NRA is looking out for the interests of our members
--- including you.

Paul

>>>>>>>>>>
H. Paul Payne
NRA Liaison to the Executive Vice President
3565 La Ciotat Way
Riverside, CA 92501
(951) 683-4NRA Office
(951) 779-0740 Fax
nrausmc@earthlink.net Email
Fighting for the restoration and preservation of the Second Amendment, right here in California, since 1989!
>>>>>>>>>>


http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Federal/Read.aspx?id=5888



NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox's Letter to Members of Congress on H.R. 5175, the Disclose Act

Thursday, June 10, 2010

http://www.nraila.org/media/PDFs/DiscloseAct52710.pdf


May 26, 2010

Dear Member of Congress:

I am writing to express the National Rifle Association's strong concerns with H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act, as well as our opposition to this bill in its current form. It is our sincere hope that these concerns will be addressed as this legislation is considered by the full House.

Earlier this year, in Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court struck down the ban on certain political speech by nonprofit membership associations such as the NRA. In an attempt to characterize that ruling as something other than a vindication of the free speech and associational rights of millions of individual American citizens, H.R. 5175 attempts to reverse that decision.

Under the First Amendment, as recognized in a long line of Supreme Court cases, citizens have the right to speak and associate privately and anonymously. H.R. 5175, however, would require the NRA to turn our membership and donor lists over to the government and to disclose top donors on political advertisements. The bill would empower the Federal Election Commission to require the NRA to reveal private, internal discussions with our four million members about political communications. This unnecessary and burdensome requirement would leave it in the hands of government officials to make a determination about the type and amount of speech that would trigger potential criminal penalties.

H.R. 5175 creates a series of byzantine disclosure requirements that have the obvious effect of intimidating speech. The bill, for example, requires "top-five funder" disclosures on TV ads that mention candidates for federal office from 90 days prior to a primary election through the general election; "top-two funder" disclosure on similar radio ads during that period; "significant funder" and "top-five funder" disclosures on similar mass mailings during that period; and "significant funder" disclosure for similar "robocalls" during that period. Internet communications are covered if placed for a fee on another website, such as the use of banner ads that mention candidates for federal office. Even worse, no exceptions are included for organizations communicating with their members. This is far worse than current law and would severely restrict the various ways that the NRA communicates with our members and like-minded individuals.

While there are some groups that have run ads and attempted to hide their identities, the NRA isn't one of them. The NRA has been in existence since 1871. Our four million members across the country contribute for the purpose of speaking during elections and participating in the political process. When the NRA runs ads, we clearly and proudly put our name on them. Indeed, that's what our members expect us to do. There is no reason to include the NRA in overly burdensome disclosure and reporting requirements that are supposedly aimed at so-called "shadow" groups.

On the issue of reporting requirements, the bill mandates that the NRA electronically file all reports with the FEC within 24 hours of each expenditure. Within 24 hours of FEC posting of the reports, the NRA would be required to put a hyperlink on our website to the exact page on which the reports appear on the FEC's website - and keep that link: active for at least one year following the date of the general election. Independent Expenditure reports would have to disclose all individuals who donate $600 or more to the NRA during the reporting period and Electioneering Communication reports would have to disclose all individuals who donate $1,000 or more to the NRA during the reporting period. There are literally thousands of NRA donors who would meet those thresholds, so these requirements would create a significant and unwarranted burden.

Some have argued that under the bill, all the NRA would have to do to avoid disclosing our $600 or $1,000 level donors is to create a "Campaign-Related Activity Account." Were we to set up such an account, however, we would be precluded from transferring more than $10,000 from our general treasury to the account; all individual donors to that account would have to specifically designate their contributions in that manner and would have to limit their contributions to $9,999; the burdensome disclosure requirements for ads, mailings and robocalls would still apply; and the NRA would be prohibited from spending money on election activity from any other source - including the NRA's Political Victory Fund (our PAC). In sum, this provision is completely unworkable.

Unfortunately, H.R. 5175 attacks nearly all of the NRA's political speech by creating an arbitrary patchwork of unprecedented reporting and disclosure requirements. Under the bill, the NRA would have to track the political priorities of each of our individual members - all four million of them. The cost of complying with these requirements would be immense and significantly restrict our ability to speak.

As noted above, there is no legitimate reason to include the NRA in H.R. 5175's overly burdensome disclosure and reporting requirements. Therefore, we will continue to work with members from both parties to address these issues. Should our concerns not be resolved - and to date, they have not been - the NRA will have no choice but to oppose passage of this legislation.

Sincerely,
Chris W. Cox
Executive Director

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Paladin
06-15-2010, 9:02 PM
If the NRA was, oh, four times its current size (16M rather than 4M now), I doubt whether they'd have to be as politically shrewd. They could just say, "We're against this" and not have to rely on the anger of antis to kill bills for them. With an estimated 90,000,000 gun owners in the US, if just 1/6th of them joined for 5 years, that would make for 15M members (and a TON of $$$), and we'd be unstoppable!

I wonder what % of CGN members are NRA members. I've spent some time over the past week seeing what goes on in the OT subforum and it seems like a lot of time spent socializing, shooting the breeze, and musing. (ETA: That's by people w/thousands of posts and w/usernames that I've never seen around the 2nd A subforum.) It reminded me why I don't spend much time outside of the 2nd A RKBA subforum.

darkwater
06-15-2010, 10:27 PM
And here's the official release just published: http://www.nraila.org/News/Read/NewsReleases.aspx?ID=13902

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


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---


Copyright 2010, National Rifle Association of America, Institute for Legislative Action.
This may be reproduced. It may not be reproduced for commercial purposes.
11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, VA 22030 800-392-8683
Contact Us | Privacy & Security Policy

Maestro Pistolero
06-15-2010, 10:46 PM
Forget the NRA's role here, (by the way, the exemption also applies to groups like the AARP and the Humane Society).

How about the central question that ought to be ask in this matter:

Why do the Democrats think it's ok to devise a thinly-veiled end run around a stricken law that the Supreme Court has already ruled is unconstitutional?

And our president led the way when he fired the opening shot, abandoning protocol and any sense of decorum to publicly scold the Supreme Court Justices on national TV. The Justices are invited guests at the state of the union address. Oh, the wisdom of Clarence Thomas to repeatedly decline that invitation.

Barack Obama, constitutional law professor, my bare behind.

Window_Seat
06-15-2010, 11:24 PM
If the NRA was, oh, four times its current size (16M rather than 4M now), I doubt whether they'd have to be as politically shrewd. They could just say, "We're against this" and not have to rely on the anger of antis to kill bills for them. With an estimated 90,000,000 gun owners in the US, if just 1/6th of them joined for 5 years, that would make for 15M members (and a TON of $$$), and we'd be unstoppable!...

The problem with this is that the NRA couldn't "convince" their member constituents as well as the other 86M to make sure that their vote was one against the government we are now under and continue to be. They should figure out how to take on that task before trying to get 1 more member. They can do it, but what good does having 100M members do if none of those voters will get rid of tenured career hoplophobics?

Erik.

Paladin
06-16-2010, 5:39 PM
The problem with this is that the NRA couldn't "convince" their member constituents as well as the other 86M to make sure that their vote was one against the government we are now under and continue to be. They should figure out how to take on that task before trying to get 1 more member. They can do it, but what good does having 100M members do if none of those voters will get rid of tenured career hoplophobics?The NRA seems to be doing pretty good, if you ask me! :D :79:

From: http://www.nrapvf.org/About/Default.aspx

Mission Statement

The NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is NRA's political action committee. The NRA-Political Victory Fund ranks political candidates -- irrespective of party affiliation -- based on voting records, public statements and their responses to an NRA-PVF questionnaire. In 2008, NRA-PVF was involved in 271 campaigns for the U.S. House and Senate, winning in 230 of those races (85%).

In 2008, NRA-PVF endorsed thousands of candidates running in state legislative races and achieved an 84% success rate in those elections.

In the 2008 elections, NRA resources were more widely deployed in more critical battles than ever before. Millions of dollars were spent on direct campaign donations, independent campaign expenditures and on mobilizing the most aggressive grassroots operation in NRA history. In 2009 and in preparation for 2010, NRA-ILA will build on that grassroots organization with continued programs to effectively communicate with NRA members and others.

NRA relies on a very simple premise: when provided with the facts, the nation’s elected officials will recognize that "gun control" schemes are an infringement on the Second Amendment and a proven failure in fighting crime. The importance of this premise lies in the knowledge that, as one U.S. Congressman put it: "The gun lobby is people."

ArticleTheFourth
06-17-2010, 1:14 AM
I do not get this; it appears the NRA is now on the sideline since they've been exempted? This bill is bad wheather exempted or not!

bwiese
06-17-2010, 1:25 AM
I do not get this; it appears the NRA is now on the sideline since they've been exempted? This bill is bad wheather exempted or not!

And you want NRA to get entangled in non-gun politics?

Please, please, no.


[In fact the way contrarian politics work, the "NRA exemption" (which is also an AARP, etc. exemption apparently) might stink up the whole bill and kill it.]

ArticleTheFourth
06-17-2010, 1:31 AM
Let's hope that's true and the smaller gun organizations such as CG and others will maintain free speech rights.

IGOTDIRT4U
06-17-2010, 6:22 AM
And you want NRA to get entangled in non-gun politics?

Please, please, no.


[In fact the way contrarian politics work, the "NRA exemption" (which is also an AARP, etc. exemption apparently) might stink up the whole bill and kill it.]

Whether the bill passes with the exemptions or does not pass at all, has almost the same effect. The prior (current) SCOTUS decision will remain in effect if the bill fails, and the NRA will be the benefitor of the SCOTUS decision.

Paladin:

I have to disagree with your first post, and note I find it distasteful. Just because many (most) CGN members don't put their NRA status in their signature, does not mean we have 25000 keyboard commandos who aren't active. I, for one, never put my NRA status in my sig for years as I first joined as a 5 year member, then went to Life about 2 years ago, then in 12/09 went to Endowment, which is when I first listed my status, and only after I received my confirmation letter. Please think better of your fellow man, and CGN subscriber.

fatirishman
06-17-2010, 9:52 AM
Some of us won't join the NRA because we feel they are terrible on a number of issues, and sell-outs on even the Second Amendment. I would recommend that folks truly interested in protecting the BoR, or even the just gun rights, support the vastly superior Gun Owners of America (even though other concerns keep me from joining even them); of course, on could, if one had the means and inclination, join both the NRA and GOA as well as other, local groups or non-single issue groups that will fight for our right.

Proud member of Gun Owners of Vermont and former VP of the Windsor County, VT Libertarian Party, etc.

BlindRacer
06-17-2010, 12:59 PM
I think the numbers are so low for the NRA because of one factor...Money. Most people can't afford to become a member. When it's between putting food on the table/paying rent, or becoming a member, then guess what. Or even more, when it comes to paying for a gun they want, or the ammo to shoot, and becoming a member...most will choose to the gun or ammo. If they can't afford to shoot, then what's the point.

I know they have deals once in a while, if you can get in on it during those times. But I think if the price were significantly lower, then more people would join...probably easily get more revenue to fight the laws and such as well.

At least this is how it is for me. When it takes me 6 months to save up for a gun that I want (let alone the ammo to go with it), I just can't put money toward the NRA. I don't have a bad job either. I'm a college graduate, working full time, very well above minimum wage. And on a very restrictive budget (don't even have a mortgage, because it's not possible to afford that in SoCal). Money just doesn't go too far these days.

jdberger
06-17-2010, 1:14 PM
BlindRacer, yearly NRA memberships are something like $30. Go to somewhere like ShootingUSA.com and they'll even take $10 off of that price.

If you save a dime a day, in a year you'll have enough money for a year's membership and enough left over for a couple of tacos and a beer.

jdberger
06-17-2010, 1:15 PM
Some of us won't join the NRA because we feel they are terrible on a number of issues, and sell-outs on even the Second Amendment. I would recommend that folks truly interested in protecting the BoR, or even the just gun rights, support the vastly superior Gun Owners of America (even though other concerns keep me from joining even them); of course, on could, if one had the means and inclination, join both the NRA and GOA as well as other, local groups or non-single issue groups that will fight for our right.

Proud member of Gun Owners of Vermont and former VP of the Windsor County, VT Libertarian Party, etc.

See here the list of accomplishments by Gun Owners of America:



.


:rolleyes:

dfletcher
06-17-2010, 1:36 PM
Forget the NRA's role here, (by the way, the exemption also applies to groups like the AARP and the Humane Society).

How about the central question that ought to be ask in this matter:

Why do the Democrats think it's ok to devise a thinly-veiled end run around a stricken law that the Supreme Court has already ruled is unconstitutional?

And our president led the way when he fired the opening shot, abandoning protocol and any sense of decorum to publicly scold the Supreme Court Justices on national TV. The Justices are invited guests at the state of the union address. Oh, the wisdom of Clarence Thomas to repeatedly decline that invitation.

Barack Obama, constitutional law professor, my bare behind.

Because they don't "like it" & as we all know, the test of whether something is right or wrong, good or bad is ...... whether or not one "likes it" - right? ;)

I'd presume that reason is mixed with some who have good intentions, some who wish to maintain a political (read $$$ donations) advantage and others who figure it's just good politics - but I figure "don't like it" is pretty high on the list.

Congress wants to do to this decision what DC is doing to the Heller decision. Entangle it, tie it up with convoluted restrictions in an effort to obstruct the effects of the decision. A nice reminder for us all to see the Democrats haven't lost the legislative spirit that brought us Jim Crow and the poll tax.

jdberger
06-17-2010, 1:49 PM
The Supreme Court is supposed to give guidance to Congress. That's how the process works. Reading nefarious intent into the actions of the Dems isn't warranted here.

Recall that after Kelo, tons of State governments went and enacted laws that forbade the taking of private property for the prospect of increased tax revenues.

Also recall that Congress refined their ability to use Tribunals to try "enemy combatants" after their initial proposal was shot down by SCOTUS.

BlindRacer
06-17-2010, 2:44 PM
BlindRacer, yearly NRA memberships are something like $30. Go to somewhere like ShootingUSA.com and they'll even take $10 off of that price.

If you save a dime a day, in a year you'll have enough money for a year's membership and enough left over for a couple of tacos and a beer.

For some reason I thought it was more than that...but I still think it's an issue, since there's so many people that have bills to pay and might be in debt and are barely scraping by.

My wife and I are currently paying off school loans, and hospital bills, cause having a baby is expensive! Once things get back to normalcy, then I'll probably put some money toward that.


And as far as this thread goes, I think that support toward something like the NRA in the long run is a good thing, even if you don't agree with every issue. No one and nothing is going to be perfect in everyone's view, but disregarding them because of an issue, especially one that doesn't apply to their direct goals (2A), is not a good idea in my view.

dfletcher
06-17-2010, 3:15 PM
The Supreme Court is supposed to give guidance to Congress. That's how the process works. Reading nefarious intent into the actions of the Dems isn't warranted here.

Recall that after Kelo, tons of State governments went and enacted laws that forbade the taking of private property for the prospect of increased tax revenues.

Also recall that Congress refined their ability to use Tribunals to try "enemy combatants" after their initial proposal was shot down by SCOTUS.

You are more knowledgeable and certainly more generous than me, I bring only a layman's approach and honestly, reading much of this gives me a headache.

But when I read that any company that took TARP money is restricted as are defense contractors, when the covered communication period is doubled and all sorts of filing and cumbersome disclaimers must be added to adverts, it seems to me they are not so much "feeling their way" to comply as to mute it.

Reading an "exemption" to such restrictions for newspaper editorials honestly makes the hair on the back of neck stand up. The section that speaks to groups not being able to advocate against a candidate ("Swift Boating") seems to me to go beyond just trying to comply with the court.

I've attached a link & PDF if anyone is interested, it does give new meaning to the phrase "dry reading" though.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d111:HR05175:@@@D&summ2=m&

http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=111_cong_bills&docid=f:h5175ih.txt.pdf

It seems to me, overall, Congress is attempting to present a complicated replacement to the law struck down and one of the questions I would ask is why should this (if it becomes law) not be struck down also?

Maltese Falcon
06-17-2010, 3:29 PM
I wonder what % of CGN members are NRA members. I've spent some time over the past week seeing what goes on in the OT subforum and it seems like a lot of time spent socializing, shooting the breeze, and musing. (ETA: That's by people w/thousands of posts and w/usernames that I've never seen around the 2nd A subforum.) It reminded me why I don't spend much time outside of the 2nd A RKBA subforum.

I'm not sure what you a looking for? I joined CalGuns in 2009. Have since become a 3 year member of the NRA, CGN Contributor, Donated hundreds to CGF, spent thousands on more firearms than one hand can count, spent more thousands on training, optics and ammo...and you want me to be a paralegal on the 2nd amendment? I thought I would leave that to the experts and read from their wisdom...sorry to disappoint you.

.

FirstFlight
06-18-2010, 1:33 PM
And this is what Timothy P. Carney of the Washington Examiner has to say about it.

Timothy P. Carney: NRA isn't the villain in the free-speech fight
By: Timothy P. Carney
Examiner Columnist
June 18, 2010
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at the 138th National Rifle Association of America meeting (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images) (Getty Images)


Congressional Democrats, to avert a clash with the National Rifle Association, have crafted a blatantly unfair amendment to an already cynical and probably unconstitutional bill regulating political discourse. The amendment, crafted by Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., exempts a handful of the most powerful lobbies -- including the NRA -- from proposed burdensome disclosure requirements.

It's a shameful moment for the House of Representatives -- especially the Democratic majority, and particularly Van Hollen. On the right, though, the ire is mostly aimed at the NRA for agreeing to drop its opposition to the bill because of the carveout.

But the facts paint an ambiguous picture as far as the NRA's culpability.

The NRA's chief lobbyist, Chris Cox, on May 26 wrote every House member, attacking the DISCLOSE Act for creating "a series of Byzantine disclosure requirements that have the obvious effect of intimidating speech."

Cox wrote, "there is no legitimate reason to include the NRA" in the bill's reporting and disclosure rules. Democrats say the bill is about curbing the political influence of corporations, which sometimes form nonprofit front groups to run issue ads. This bill aims to expose the real money behind such ads. The NRA, however, doesn't hide behind front groups.

The NRA's objection derailed the bill just before it was expected to pass.

Rep. Heath Shuler, a pro-gun Democrat from a conservative North Carolina district, responded with a proposal to exempt membership-based nonprofits from the bill. This would protect the NRA, Human Rights Campaign, Americans for Tax Reform, and many other groups.

Apparently, for Democratic leadership, that defeated the purpose. Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, wrote his own amendment, exempting only the largest membership groups. It was a carve-out for the NRA.

So the NRA lobbyists were now faced with a bill that neither regulated guns nor regulated the NRA. Just as the NRA doesn't take a position on cap-and-trade measures or abortion bills, it decided it wouldn't take a position on the DISCLOSE Act.

The right exploded in anger. Other nonprofits felt abandoned. Some NRA board members felt betrayed. The conservative rank-and-file felt an ally had behaved selfishly to the detriment of the movement.

But the center-right is not some monolithic force with identical interests. The Chamber of Commerce supported the stimulus and cash for clunkers. National Right to Life didn't oppose the House health care bill. ATR was silent on the partial-birth abortion bill.

An analogy: I've read reviewers critique a book for not covering some topics they find important. Such criticism is silly, because it boils down to this: Even though the author wrote the book he said he would write, the reviewer wishes the author had written a different book than he wrote.

Today, some conservatives wish the NRA were a different organization than it is. It is not a conservative lobby. It is not the right's American Civil Liberties Union.

It is a gun rights group. On some occasions, the NRA has pushed pro-gun legislation that is anti-conservative -- such as bills limiting private property owners from prohibiting legal guns.

The NRA hasn't endorsed Van Hollen's crooked bit of cynical politicking, and it isn't critiquing anyone who fights the bill. It has just decided not to use gun-rights money to oppose a speech-rights bill.

And of course, the real villain here is Van Hollen, who -- in the name of curbing the special interests -- gave the biggest special interests a free pass.

But even faced with these valid arguments the NRA's walking away from this fight is hard to swallow. As NRA board member Cleta Mitchell puts it, the First Amendment is a principle, not merely an issue.

Also, Van Hollen's deal is so clearly unfair, and the NRA, by dropping its objection to the bill, is indirectly using unfair means to protect gun rights.

NRA lobbyists say they are just looking out for their members. In this case, that means abandoning friends.


Timothy P. Carney is The Washington Examiner's lobbying editor. His K Street column appears on Wednesdays.



Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/columns/NRA-isn_t-the-villain-in-the-free-speech-fight-96597144.html#ixzz0rF4PCpdX