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Thread: The DISCLOSE Act and the NRA: Some Bad News, H. A. von Spakovsky on NationalReview.com

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    http://corner.nationalreview.com/pos...Q4N2E3YTM1MmM=

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    The DISCLOSE Act and the NRA: Some Bad News [Hans A. von Spakovsky]

    Just as oppositionwas building in the House to the unconstitutional and burdensome DISCLOSE Act, which is intended to help Democrats in the November election by stifling the political speech of corporations and many non-profit advocacy organizations (but not unions), the NRA has apparently sold out.

    Politico and others are reporting that the NRA has reached a deal to withdraw its opposition to the bill in exchange for an exemption for the NRA from its disclosure provisions.The exemption would apply to “organizations which have qualified as having tax exempt status under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code for each of the 10 years prior to making a campaign-related disbursement, that had 1 million or more dues-paying members in the prior calendar year, that had members in each of the 50 states, that received no more than 15 percent of their total funding from corporations or labor organizations, and that do not use any corporate or union money to pay for their campaign-related expenditures.”

    There aren’t too many organizations that will fit within this exemption, but I understand the NRA thinks it is one of those that will. This exemption will not apply to small, less powerful 501(c)(4) organizations, whichwill be hit the hardest by the onerous, burdensome, and expensive disclosure requirements of the DISCLOSE Act, but it will apply to the large, well-funded and well-connected NRA.

    So, the NRA may end up providing the lobbying grease that allows this noxious and partisan piece of legislation to slide through the House, something that I seriously doubt most of the individual members of the NRA (who are strong believers in the First Amendment as well as the Second) would agree with.


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    Regular Member rodbender's Avatar
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    No surprise here, nothing to see...move along.
    The thing about common sense is....it ain't too common.
    Will Rogers

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    Come on now, they had no choice, if they are going to tout that they where
    the driving force in the McDonald case they can't be silenced and let the truth out.
    After all we are in the mists of voting for a SCOTUS judge.
    So political muzzling applies.


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    SlackwareRobert wrote:
    After all we are in the mists of voting for a SCOTUS judge.
    I like! The fog of war and the miasma of democracy.

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    http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/...hhVhQD9GBAIN80

    House Dems yield to NRA on disclosure bill
    By DAVID ESPO (AP) – 16 hours ago

    WASHINGTON — Bowing to pressure from the National Rifle Association, House Democrats agreed Monday to exempt the powerful gun owners' lobby from key portions of legislation imposing new disclosure requirements on campaign advertising and other political activity.

    The legislation is designed to roll back a recent Supreme Court ruling and generally requires organizations to disclose their top donors if they sponsor political television commercials or pay for mass mailings in the months leading to an election.

    Democratic attempts to bring the measure to the floor faltered last month when the NRA objected, and hurried negotiations on a compromise resulted.

    Under a change negotiated over the weekend, the NRA would be exempt based on its length in existence, size of membership and other factors — a concession demanded by the powerful lobby and sought by Democratic allies in the House led by Rep. Heath Shuler, D-N.C. Other organizations meeting the same set of criteria would also be exempt, but officials said late Monday they were not immediately able to name any.

    Democratic aides said the leadership hoped the revised legislation could be brought to a vote before the end of the week.

    There was no immediate comment from the NRA.

    The developments marked the second time the NRA has forced House Democrats to change plans on key legislation this year. In April, a bill to grant the District of Columbia full voting rights in the House was shelved after the organization demonstrated it had the votes to require the repeal of local gun control ordinances at the same time.

    This time, the NRA set out its objections in a May 26 letter to members of Congress saying the initial legislation would permit the Federal Election Commission to require the NRA "to reveal private, internal discussions with our four million members about political communications."

    In addition, it said the legislation laid out a series of "byzantine disclosure requirements that have the obvious effect of intimidating speech," said the letter.

    The change drew a somewhat stinted expression of support from Fred Wertheimer, the president of Democracy 21 and long an influential voice in efforts to impose restrictions on the use of big money in politics. "This exemption has been deemed necessary to pass the bill, but since it is so narrow it will not open a major loophole in the legislation," the statement said.

    "Almost all c4 advocacy groups that make campaign-related expenditures will be covered by the donor disclosure provisions in the legislation, as will c4 groups formed to function as dummy or front groups or to serve as groups to make campaign-related expenditures without disclosing their donors."

    The reference to so-called "c4" organizations is taken from the portion of the tax code that governs nonprofit social welfare groups that engage in civic activities. In addition to the NRA, the category includes the Sierra Club and the National Right to Life Committee.

    Under the proposed change to the legislation non-profits would be exempt from the disclosure requirements only if they have been in existence for a decade, have at least 1 million dues-paying members and do not use any corporate or labor union money to pay for their campaign-related expenditures.

    Democratic officials said unions would continue to be covered, as would the Chamber of Commerce.

    Copyright © 2010 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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    I know it sounds bad,but the simple fact is the NRA knows how to play ball. Sometimes you gotta play ball to get what you want or be subject to nothing at all.

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    wethepeople wrote:
    I know it sounds bad,but the simple fact is the NRA knows how to play ball. Sometimes you gotta play ball to get what you want or be subject to nothing at all.
    It seems NRA sometimes has the defeatist mindset of "They'll do it to us sometime in the future anyway, we might as well do it to ourselves now, and save everyone the hassle."

    Looking out for your own interests is great and all, but if you sacrifice everyone else to do it, you're not standing for the greater good.

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    Regular Member Thundar's Avatar
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    Doug Huffman wrote:
    http://corner.nationalreview.com/pos...Q4N2E3YTM1MmM=

    Monday, June 14, 2010

    The DISCLOSE Act and the NRA: Some Bad News [Hans A. von Spakovsky]

    Just as oppositionwas building in the House to the unconstitutional and burdensome DISCLOSE Act, which is intended to help Democrats in the November election by stifling the political speech of corporations and many non-profit advocacy organizations (but not unions), the NRA has apparently sold out.

    Politico and others are reporting that the NRA has reached a deal to withdraw its opposition to the bill in exchange for an exemption for the NRA from its disclosure provisions.The exemption would apply to “organizations which have qualified as having tax exempt status under section 501(c)(4) of the tax code for each of the 10 years prior to making a campaign-related disbursement, that had 1 million or more dues-paying members in the prior calendar year, that had members in each of the 50 states, that received no more than 15 percent of their total funding from corporations or labor organizations, and that do not use any corporate or union money to pay for their campaign-related expenditures.”

    There aren’t too many organizations that will fit within this exemption, but I understand the NRA thinks it is one of those that will. This exemption will not apply to small, less powerful 501(c)(4) organizations, whichwill be hit the hardest by the onerous, burdensome, and expensive disclosure requirements of the DISCLOSE Act, but it will apply to the large, well-funded and well-connected NRA.

    So, the NRA may end up providing the lobbying grease that allows this noxious and partisan piece of legislation to slide through the House, something that I seriously doubt most of the individual members of the NRA (who are strong believers in the First Amendment as well as the Second) would agree with.
    NRA = Negotiate your Rights Away

    We are all equal, some are just more equal than others.

    The NRA is more concerned about hording NRA political power than it is about anything else.
    He wore his gun outside his pants for all the honest world to see. Pancho & Lefty

    The millions of people, armed in the holy cause of liberty, and in such a country as that which we possess, are invincible by any force which our enemy can send against us....There is no retreat but in submission and slavery! ...The war is inevitableand let it come! I repeat it, Sir, let it come . PATRICK HENRY speech 1776

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    House Democrats Close to Reinstituting Penalties for Criticizing Congress
    -- Help GOA get other pro-gun groups on board in this fight

    Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
    8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
    Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408
    http://www.gunowners.org


    Tuesday, June 15, 2010

    We alerted you last week to the very dangerous DISCLOSE Act (HR 5175), where liberal House Democrats are trying to gag their political opponents.

    Well, there have been some late-breaking developments in the fight to kill this bill, but you're not going to believe what's happening. This is what Politico.com reported yesterday:

    House Democrats have offered to exempt the National Rifle Association from a sweeping campaign-finance bill, removing a major obstacle in the push to roll back the Supreme Court's Citizens United ruling.

    The NRA had objected to some of the strict financial disclosure provisions that Democrats have proposed for corporations and politically active nonprofits and that had kept moderate, pro-gun Democrats from backing the legislation.

    But if the NRA signs off on the deal, the bill could come to the House floor as early as this week. The NRA said it would not comment until specific legislative language is revealed.

    An NRA official also noted that the group would not be supporting the bill but would not actively oppose it if the deal with the Democratic leadership holds up.

    So if the NRA gets an exemption for itself, it will not oppose the anti-freedom DISCLOSE Act (HR 5175). This legislation is designed to overturn major parts of the recent Supreme Court decision which restored the ability of groups like GOA to freely criticize elected officials during a campaign.

    But the NRA would no longer oppose the bill once they've won an exemption for themselves. As reported by Politico.com:
    The legislation in question is designed to restore more campaign finance rules in the wake of last year's Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission decision, which removed prohibitions on corporations and unions running TV ads opposing or backing candidates in the run-up to an election.

    Democratic leaders fear the Citizens United decision could open the floodgates for corporate money to flow into this year's midterm elections, which they believe would favor Republican interests.

    The legislation, offered by Maryland Rep. Chris Van Hollen, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, would require special-interest groups to disclose their top donors if they choose to run TV ads or send out mass mailings in the final months of an election.

    In addition to benefiting the NRA, this "exemption" amendment will benefit Blue Dog Democrats who will be given a green light to support the Obama-Pelosi backed bill:
    Democrats are justifying the NRA exemption, saying the organization has a long history of being involved in the political process, and they say the real goal of the new campaign finance bill is to expose corporations and unions that create ambiguous front groups to run attack ads during campaigns. Unions would not be allowed to use the NRA exemption.

    North Carolina Rep. Heath Shuler, an NRA backer and conservative Democrat, proved to be pivotal to the NRA deal. Shuler was the first to offer an amendment to exempt the NRA and other nonprofits from the legislation, but that move drew objections from campaign watchdog groups.

    "There were a number of concerns that the DISCLOSE Act could hinder or penalize the efforts of certain long-standing, member-driven organizations who have historically acted in good faith," Shuler said, referring to the NRA. "Most of those concerns are addressed within the manager's amendment."

    But here's the rub, the special exemption amendment will ONLY benefit the NRA and no other groups whatsoever. It will leave all other groups who are currently in Obama's crosshairs dangling in the wind:
    The proposal would exempt organizations that have more than 1 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. Democrats say the new language would apply to only the NRA, since no other organization would qualify under these specific provisions. The NRA, with 4 million members, will not actively oppose the DISCLOSE Act, according to Democratic sources.

    The exemption for a huge group like the NRA is sure to outrage smaller special-interest groups [like Gun Owners of America].

    We are in a political war, and our opponents are trying to change the rules of the game by gagging those groups that are their political enemies. Some might say that the requirement to disclose our membership is not a gag rule, but it most certainly is. Gun Owners of America will NOT do anything that would jeopardize the privacy of our members!

    Gun owners know the dangers of being registered, as it has often proven to be the first step towards gun confiscation -- which, by the way, is why it's lamentable that the management of the NRA is selling out its members for the proverbial bowl of pottage. (Go to http://tinyurl.com/2uw9sm9 to see what a leading Capitol Hill blog has written about this sell-out.)

    We're positive that regular members of the NRA would never want this to happen -- where all the other pro-gun organizations (like GOA) that are fighting to protect our rights would be gagged, while special favors are cut for one group in particular.

    We stand shoulder to shoulder with NRA and all the other pro-gun groups when they are fighting to defend our Second Amendment freedoms. We all have to stick together if we are going to win these battles.

    We're not sure who is making the decisions over at the NRA headquarters... but this type of thing would have never happened in the past, and we're positive that the NRA membership would not be happy with it. This cannot stand!

    ACTION: Please do everything you can to kill this dangerous DISCLOSE Act legislation (HR 5175). Here's what you can do:

    1. Urge your congressman to oppose HR 5175. You can use the Gun Owners Legislative Action Center at http://www.gunowners.org/activism.htm to send a pre-written message to your Representative.

    2. Call the NRA-ILA at (800) 392-VOTE (8683) and urge them to oppose this legislation and to rate any congressman who votes in favor of HR 5175 as having cast an ANTI-GUN vote. Urge them not to sell out our constitutional freedoms just because they can get an exemption for themselves.

    3. Please help Gun Owners of America to continue fighting for your rights. You can go to http://gunowners.org/contribute-to-goa.htm to help us alert as many people as possible to this new threat.

    ----- Pre-written letter -----

    Dear Representative:

    I stand with Gun Owners of America in opposing the DISCLOSE Act (HR 5175).

    There are reports that a deal may be cut to exempt one large organization 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.

    On the Senate side, Senator Mitch McConnell blasted this deal, which is 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 HR 5175.

    Sincerely,


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    STATEMENT FROM THE NATIONAL RIFLE ASSOCIATION ON H.R. 5175, THE DISCLOSE ACT 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---
    'Till the last landings made, and we stand unafraid, on a shore not mortal has seen,
    'Till the last bugle call, sounds taps for us all,
    It's Semper Fidelis, MARINE!

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    I let my membership expire last month after contacting them about them constantly taking credit for what other 2A groups accomplished. I was told the VCDL basicly had nothing to do with overturning the National park ban as they are not a national organization. I could tell by the tone of the letter that I had struck a nerve.

    I guess this weekend I'll take my nra stuff out back and burn it.

    I never thought I would feel this way about them.

    On a good note though, I did join JPFO. They won't sell out.

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    Unfortunately the strongest force setting policy - or taking the credit - are the lifer voting members. NRA does not release figures breaking down its constituency into lifers and enfranchised annual members (whose memberships can expire and be dropped).

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    hlh wrote:
    wethepeople wrote:
    I know it sounds bad,but the simple fact is the NRA knows how to play ball. Sometimes you gotta play ball to get what you want or be subject to nothing at all.
    +1
    Compromise is failure on the installment plan. The NRA brags that they haven't lost yet but it's just a matter of time. Even Zeno, moving incrementally, reached his destination.

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    Regular Member sudden valley gunner's Avatar
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    hlh wrote:
    Doug Huffman wrote:
    hlh wrote:
    wethepeople wrote:
    I know it sounds bad,but the simple fact is the NRA knows how to play ball. Sometimes you gotta play ball to get what you want or be subject to nothing at all.
    +1
    Compromise is failure on the installment plan. The NRA brags that they haven't lost yet but it's just a matter of time. Even Zeno, moving incrementally, reached his destination.
    This occurs all the time during battle so that you can win the war.

    NRA playing politics again. You don't win a war by freely letting your enemy land troops and set up a base in your country. NRA isn't the voice of freedom, their should be no compromise when it comes to rights, none, period, 2A, or the 1A!!!!!!! Compromise only empowers the tyranist.
    I am not anti Cop I am just pro Citizen.

    U.S. v. Minker, 350 US 179, at page 187
    "Because of what appears to be a lawful command on the surface, many citizens, because
    of their respect for what only appears to be a law, are cunningly coerced into waiving their
    rights, due to ignorance." (Paraphrased)

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    hlh wrote:
    Doug Huffman wrote:
    hlh wrote:
    wethepeople wrote:
    I know it sounds bad,but the simple fact is the NRA knows how to play ball. Sometimes you gotta play ball to get what you want or be subject to nothing at all.
    +1
    Compromise is failure on the installment plan. The NRA brags that they haven't lost yet but it's just a matter of time. Even Zeno, moving incrementally, reached his destination.
    This occurs all the time during battle so that you can win the war.
    Which war would that be, please?

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    Hey Doug! NRA K$#% my A#@!

    Not sure of the justification for ANY "C4" exemption. Why shouldn't all political advocacy groups pay taxes on their fundraising.?



    From ACORN to the NRA, why a tax exemption?
    Remember Peter Nap and Skidmark. Do them proud. Be active. Be well informed. ALL rights matter.

    "An armed society is a polite society. Manners are good when you may have to back up your acts with your life."

    --Robert A. Heinlein

    Hey NSA! *&$# you. Record this--- MOLON LABE!

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    Hopefully after I get my suppressor. Famous guy is right....
    Shoot softly and carry a big gun. Or something like that.
    I went to gooberment shcool.

    Seriously, I thought 15-20 years, but now I will be shocked if it
    doesn't start in 20 months on the outside.
    All the idiots who say we are Greece in the future forget,
    in Greece only the government has guns, just the opposite here.
    I don't think the government goons will dare show their face to
    riot except in CA, and NY, so what if they burn down their own house
    we can keep them contained on that side of the border. It s*cks I
    will have paid everything off, but gotta hedge all bets.

    Do you know the layout and access points of armories in your area
    for when the big day comes? We really need a navel gun ship in the
    gulf for powder reserves. At least Norfolk is only 2 gas tanks away.
    Just think how much friendlier every one will be with machine guns slung
    over our shoulders and no bradies for hundreds of miles.

    Just hope the aztecs are right and we won't have to worry either way. :what:



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    Doug -

    Thanks for bringing this out . . . you know the rediculous battle we had here in Iowa this year fighting against the watered down NRA bill . . . in the end, we got rid of most, but not all of the onerous anti-gun provisions by the NRA.

    American gun owners need to wake up . . . the NRA is no longer an organization that defends our liberties . . . the pathetic response that "we won't fight against this if it doesn't apply to us only" is about the worst I have seen out of them yet.

    WAKE UP PEOPLE!!!

    SS

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    The Wall Street Journal

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...831235224.html

    [Excerpt] The National Rifle Association is suffering a sudden onset of amnesia this week, as the gun lobby cuts a deal to exempt itself from the latest Congressional attempt to repeal the First Amendment. NRA members may soon regret the organization's bid to ingratiate itself with Democrats at the expense of its longtime free-speech allies.

    The campaign finance bill, sponsored by Senator Chuck Schumer and Representative Chris Van Hollen, is the Democratic response to the Supreme Court's January decision in Citizens United v. FEC, which restored the First Amendment right of corporations, unions and nonprofits to make independent campaign expenditures. At ...

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    Bold font takes the day!

    Oh, sorry. That was rude of me.

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    I have not readthe ever changinglegislation, but the summary of what it is supposed to accomplish. Here are the major points:

    1. Enhance Disclaimers
    Make CEOs and other leaders take responsibility for their ads.

    2. Enhance Disclosures
    It is time to follow the money.

    3. Prevent Foreign Influence
    Foreign countries and entities should not be determining the outcome of our elections.

    4. Shareholder/Member Disclosure
    We should allow shareholders and members to know where money goes.

    5. Prevent Government Contractors from Spending
    Taxpayer money should not be spent on political ads.

    6. Provide the Lowest Unit Rate for Candidates and Parties
    Special interests should not drown out the voices of the people.

    7. Tighten Coordination Rules
    Corporations should not be able to “sponsor” a candidate.

    Generally, I support these points, and don't believe that they pose a threat to free speech. The NRA carve out bothers me.

    Would be interested in hearing your viewson the rest of the legislation.

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    eye95 wrote:
    Bold font takes the day!

    Oh, sorry. That was rude of me.
    Right. It is a further demonstration of your rhetorical inadequacies.

  24. #24
    Regular Member AtackDuck's Avatar
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    I just called the NRA-ILA and asked who worked on the DISCLOSE Act compromise and who authorized the compromise. The very nice lady on the phone almost went into "the spiel" of NRA's spin on the subject before I cut her off and further clarified my questions, explaining that someone or some group of people at the NRA had to be responsible for the decision to compromise and throw everyone else under the bus. Simply asked: who are they. She admitted she did not know but would find out and call me back.

    I really want to know who the enemy is. Who to go after and in the words of that great orator -- "...whose ass to kick."

    It is indeed time to clean our congressional house and it appears, it isalsotime to clean house at the NRA.

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    Regular Member AtackDuck's Avatar
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    Thinking on the many organizations that will be affected by this law, I realized the Brady Bunch, VPC and their ilk must reallybe sweating bullets (pun intended), if the law requires release of membership lists and donors.:what:

    Law of unintended consequences?

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