House Narrowly Passes Gag Order (DISCLOSE) Act

— Now it’s time to barrage the Senate

— Now it’s time to barrage the Senate

“Now the NRA are the big defenders of the Second Amendment of the Constitution, the right to bear arms.  But yet they think it’s all right to throw everybody else under the table so they can get a special deal, while requiring everyone else to comply with all the rules outlined in this bill, and frankly, I think it’s disappointing.” — House Minority Leader John Boehner (R-OH), June 24, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

Well, if there were any doubt as to what greased the skids for the DISCLOSE Act’s final passage… the quote above hits the nail on the head.  

Speaking on the House floor, Rep. Boehner blasted the horse-trading that occurred behind the scenes — noting that certain groups were made exempt from the legislation in order to convince them to drop their opposition to H.R. 5175.

Republican Dan Lungren of California called it an “auction behind closed doors.”  Some groups won, Lungren said, others lost.

Rep. Gregg Harper (R-MS) vilified the bill because of its ambiguity.  He said that since the Federal Election Commission won’t issue regulations to implement the bill before the election, people will have to guess at what the new election law is.  That’s because the government won’t be able to tell people what the law actually is… and if you guess wrong, you go to jail or get prosecuted.  

Harper tagged liberals for trying to rush this bill (with all of its ambiguities) for immediate implementation so that Democrats can gag their opponents in the upcoming election.  Why else, Harper asked, won’t Pelosi and company delay the implementation of the bill until the 2012 elections?

Another irony with the whole process surrounding this legislation is that while the bill is called the DISCLOSE Act, liberal Democrats did not reveal (until a couple of hours before the Rules Committee Vote) that an amendment had been inserted at the last minute to exempt labor unions from the requirements of the bill.  By the way, many of these requirements would make it much more difficult for GOA to hold legislators accountable during an election year.

The DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 5175) passed narrowly by a 219-206 vote.  You can see how your Representative voted by going to:

GOA thanks all its activists for their hard work on this bill.  Don’t be discouraged, it is MUCH harder for us to kill legislation in that chamber.  The fact that we came so close — only 7 votes needed to switch — means that we probably have the muscle to kill this in the Senate!

ACTION:  Please urge your Senator to oppose the Disclose Act (H.R. 5175 and S. 3295).  You can use the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center  to send your Senators the pre-written e-mail message below.

—– Pre-written letter —–

Dear Senator:

I stand with Gun Owners of America in opposing the DISCLOSE Act (H.R. 5175 and S. 3295).

It is outrageous that the House of Representatives passed this legislation with a deal to exempt certain large organizations from the terms of the DISCLOSE Act.  This smacks of the money-for-votes fiasco which helped grease the skids for passage of ObamaCare and which has already lowered Congress’ reputation to unprecedented depths.

I was glad to see that Senator Mitch McConnell blasted this deal, which was especially aimed at carving out special exemptions for the NRA leadership in exchange for their promise to sit on their hands and not oppose the DISCLOSE Act.  “If there is one thing Americans loathe about Washington, it’s the backroom dealing to win the vote of organizations with power and influence at the expense of everyone else,” McConnell said.

“Just as it wasn’t the Democrats’ money to offer in the health care debate, free speech isn’t theirs to ration out to those willing to play ball — it’s a right guaranteed by our First Amendment to all Americans.”

I agree wholeheartedly.  Please do NOT vote in favor of this legislation, as it will have a chilling effect upon our free speech rights by forcing the organizations we associate with to disclose their membership lists.  

How ironic that a Congress and President who treat transparency with contempt should now be trying to force legal organizations to disclose the names of their law-abiding members.  The hypocrisy is blatant, to say the least.

Vote no on H.R. 5175 or S. 3295.