McCain Seeking To Limit Free Speech Of Gun Owners

McCain Moves To Punish The American People And Grassroots Groups For Congress’ New Round Of Controversy

Sen. John McCain is at it again.

The senior senator from Arizona has worked hard to earn an F-rating from Gun Owners of America. Once a presidential contender, Sen. McCain became the poster boy for the misnamed Americans for Gun Safety (AGS) several years ago and has sponsored several anti-gun bills and amendments.

With such a record lurking in his closet, do you think Sen. McCain likes it when groups like Gun Owners of America point out his anti-gun antics?

Of course not. So in 2002, Sen. McCain teamed up with anti-gun Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) to squelch the First Amendment rights of gun owners and other Americans. These two men successfully pushed the Incumbent Protection Act into law — an act that stifles the ability of organizations like GOA to criticize elected officials before an election.

This suits Sen. McCain just fine since he knows the media is going to give him a free ride in his upcoming bid for president in 2008. One can expect the mainstream media to ignore the big government tendencies of candidates like McCain, which is why it’s imperative for watchdog organizations like Gun Owners of America to be able to freely communicate with the American people.

Not content with the limitations in the Incumbent Protection Act, Sen. McCain has struck again. In an effort to reap political advantage from the current controversies in Congress, McCain has now introduced S. 2128 — the so-called Lobbying Transparency and Accountability Act.

In this bill, McCain targets his wrath on groups like GOA — requiring them to register their “grassroots” communications with their members and to file twice as many frivolous reports.

Sen. McCain would rather shine the spotlight on us and YOU, rather than shine the spotlight on himself — remember, he was one of the original Keating Five senators and was the ONLY Republican in the Keating Five “team.”

Sen. McCain might try to dismiss the actions he took on behalf of one of his biggest contributors, Charles Keating, but as author Mark Levin notes, “In John McCain’s America, any politician who accepts a large contribution or gift from a donor, and then takes steps consistent with the donor’s interests — even though there is no legal quid pro quo — is corrupt. Well, then, by his own standard, McCain is corrupt.”

Once the Chief of Staff to the Attorney General in the Reagan administration, Mark Levin is now a contributing editor for National Review Online. He is also a talk show host and the head of the prestigious Landmark Legal Foundation in Washington, DC. Levin has never been accused of pulling punches, and his discussions over McCain’s role in the Keating Five are no exception.

“McCain was the only Republican implicated in the Keating Five scandal,” Levin points out, “yet today he lectures his party and his president about ‘the corrupting influence’ of money in politics. He rails against the so-called ‘wealthy special interests’ and their ability to buy access to elected officials, yet this is precisely what the Keating Five scandal was all about. And, of course, under McCain’s current standard, a politician who takes a principled position that may benefit a donor is corrupt, even if no law has been violated.

“The John McCain of old should be thankful that his political fate wasn’t determined by John McCain the reformer,” Levin concludes.

ACTION: Contact your senators and ask them to oppose S. 2128, John McCain’s bill to scapegoat grassroots groups for his own moral shortcomings.

You can visit the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center at to send your Senators a pre-written e-mail message such as the one below.

—– Pre-written letter —–

Dear Senator:

It should come as no surprise that Keating 5 Member John McCain is responding to recent inside-the-beltway controversies by attacking the First Amendment rights of grassroots groups. His most recent travesty masquerading as “reform” legislation is S. 2128.

A true reform bill would focus the spotlight on members like John McCain. Instead, McCain targets his wrath on groups like GOA — requiring them to register their “grassroots” communications with their members and to file twice as many frivolous reports.

Perhaps congressional transgressors need to be punished for the Abramoff scandal. Perhaps Abramoff needs to be punished for the Abramoff scandal.

But don’t try to scapegoat legitimate law-abiding grassroots groups for the moral shortcomings of people like John McCain.

The First Amendment says that, “Congress shall make no law… [abridging the right of the people] to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This is a wonderful freedom that has been enshrined in our Constitution for more than 200 years. I hope you won’t place even more restrictions on this precious right.

Please oppose S. 2128 or any other “reform” bill that would scapegoat outside groups, through which American citizens are better able to petition their government and which serve as government watchdogs.