Shotgun Sellout: NRA caves on First Amendment

Cross-posted at: Center for Competitive Politics blog

Late today comes word, courtesy of Politico, that a significant barrier to the Congressional Democrats’ efforts to stifle unwelcome political speech in the upcoming elections with the DISCLOSE Act has been removed. From the story:

House Democrats have reached an agreement with the National Rifle Association on campaign-finance legislation that would roll back the Citizens United Supreme Court decision, removing a major obstacle on the bill, according to House sources.

The deal would exempt the NRA and some other large organizations from strict campaign finance disclosures in the bill…

The new agreement would exempt organizations that have over one million members, have been in existence for more than 10 years, have members in all 50 states, and raise 15 percent or less of their funds from corporations, from the disclosure requirements. The NRA, with four million members, would fall into the exempted category…

For decades, the so-called campaign finance reform community has touted itself as on the side of the ‘little guy,’ bravely standing up to powerful ‘special interests’ to ensure ‘average Americans’ don’t have their voices ‘drowned out’ by big-spending groups. Groups like, for example, the National Rifle Association.

Apparently, though, Congressional Democrats are more comfortable with the idea of large, well-established interest groups speaking out in politics than they are with smaller, new organizations of citizens who might want to add their voices to political discussions.

Anyone who believed that so-called campaign finance reform was about protecting the voice of the ‘average American’ from ‘special interests’ is going to be in for a rather rude awakening when they see the Shotgun Sellout that Congressional Democrats have just negotiated with the National Rifle Association.

Sean Parnell
Center for Competitive Politics