This just in:
NRA and The Campaign Finance Bill
June 18, 2010
We asked John Sigler, past President of the NRA, to explain the relationship between the NRA and the DISCLOSE bill. Mr. Sigler has provided us a detailed response and he has also agreed to attend our meetings to update us on NRA issues that are of a concern to us.
Mr. Sigler reponds:
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 NRA clearly stated our strong opposition to the DISCLOSE Act in a letter
sent to Members of Congress on May 26. This bill would put a gag order on
the NRA. We believe it is unconstitutional and we oppose it.
The NRA provides critical firearms training for our Armed Forces and law
enforcement throughout the country. The DISCLOSE Act 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.
In addition, the DISCLOSE Act would force us to turn our donor lists over to
the federal government and list our top donors on all TV ads; Radio ads;
Internet ads; and election mailings. We refuse to let this Congress impose
those unconstitutional restrictions on our Association.
Is it worth us having to live under all this just to protect the First
Amendment rights of other groups? We don't think so. The NRA did not "sell
out" to Nancy Pelosi or anyone else. We told Congress that we oppose this
bill. As a result, congressional leadership said they would amend the bill
to exempt us from its draconian restrictions on free speech. If we are
exempted from this bill, we will not be involved in its final consideration
in the House. If we are not, we will strongly oppose it.
Unfortunately, some friends -- even within our own family -- have suggested
that this was an unprincipled approach. Sadly, they are guided by a
different principle -- their own and not the NRA's.
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 work for the National
Rifle Association and are sworn to defend the Second Amendment above all
We will not risk our Association or our members being silenced. And make no
mistake about it -- if this Congress eliminates the NRA's ability to speak,
it will go after the entire Second Amendment.
During consideration of the previous campaign finance speech restriction
bill several years ago, 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. We will not go down that
road again when we have an opportunity to be exempted from an
unconstitutional bill that prohibits our ability to speak.
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.
Draconian Speech Restrictions in the House DISCLOSE Act --
Would prohibit any organization that has one $50,000 or higher contract with
the federal government from engaging in political speech (bill language as
Would require NRA to list top donor and top 5 donors on all election mass
mailings, no exception for member mail
Would require NRA to put CEO and top donor on all robocalls, no exception
for member calls
Would require NRA to put CEO and top 5 donors on all election TV ads
Would require NRA to put CEO and top 2 donors on all election radio ads
Would require NRA to put CEO and top donors on all internet election ads
that we pay to put on other websites
Would require NRA to disclose all donors $600 and higher to FEC for all
Would require NRA to disclose all donors $1,000 and higher to FEC for all
Would require NRA to put a hyperlink on its website within 24 hours after
FEC posts electioneering reports to the exact FEC page where NRA's report
appears and keep link live for one year after election day
For donors who don't want their contributions spent on campaign activity,
would require the NRA CFO to certify to them in writing within 30 days of
their donation that their money wasn't spent on campaign activity
I hope you will find this to be helpful,
Mr. Sigler also sent a copy of the actual letter sent to members of Congress by Chris Cox on May 26th expressing NRA's position on the original bill.
Nancy Pelosi Yanks Campaign Finance Bill (aka DISCLOSE Act)
A Very Temporary Victory - Keep up the pressure. Make those phone calls, submit those Letters to the Editor, get the word out, we have to stop this.