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Other Groups Affected

Continuing some discussion from the main thread today. I think probably the best argument people have for being pissed at NRA was they stopped opposing the bill after they were no longer affected by it, but left other groups to fend for themselves. This is part of why I would like to see this bill go down to defeat. But suppose NRA did not have the muscle to stop this bill entirely, but only to get itself exempted from it? I’m not saying that was definitely the case, but you can’t really predict legislative outcomes until you actually hold a vote, and see how the cards fall. You can have an idea of where people stand, and how they are going to vote, but you really don’t know until you tally up.

Maybe if NRA had continued opposition they would have defeated the bill. But maybe they wouldn’t have. So put yourself in NRA’s shoes for a moment. Pretend for the sake of argument you’re Chris Cox. The Dems seem intent on ramming an onerous campaign finance law down your throat, which affects your ability to execute on your core mission. So you decide to step outside your core issue and send a letter opposing DISCLOSE, and threatening to to grade on it. Then the Dems dangle an deal in front of you. Do you take it? Keep in mind if you don’t, and continue to oppose the bill, you’re rolling the dice on having the votes to stop it. Maybe you have them, and maybe you don’t. Keep in mind also if you’re offered a deal, and you extend the proverbial middle finger, you’re probably going to lose a lot of votes you might have had in the absence of the offer, complicating whether you’ll eventually be able to defeat it in entirety.

I don’t think the right answer here is easy. If you go for the big win and fail, you’re stuck with a hampering campaign finance law that might require you to disclose your membership list. How many members are you going to lose over that? Who else is going to be able to find out who NRA members are? Are people going to be retaliated against for NRA membership? If you’re Chris Cox, do you want to risk finding out the answers to these questions?

As for the other groups, the biggest of which is SAF, is a 501(3)(c). As a non-profit organized under that tax status, SAF is not affected  by this campaign finance law at all. Same goes for Jews for the Preservation of Firearms Ownership. Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, which is Alan Gottlieb’s smaller and lesser known 501(c)(4) would be affected by this, but to the best of my knowledge, CCRKBA doesn’t have a huge federal electioneering operation that would be put in danger by DISCLOSE. GOA is a 501(c)(4), but nor do they do any extensive electioneering work. So let’s look at state groups. CalGuns Foundation is a 501(c)(3), and unaffected. PAFOA is a 501(c)(4), but does not involve itself in electioneering, and so remains unaffected. Most NRA state associations are unaffected because they don’t do much electioneering on the federal level. Those speaking about other groups being thrown under the bus need to identify what other gun rights group has an extensive electioneering apparatus that represents a core part of its mission. I would argue there wasn’t much here to throw under the bus.

So you’re Chris Cox. Do you make the decision to stand firm and risk the entire apparatus that’s been a key to your effectiveness? Or do you take the deal. If you say it’s an easy decision, you’re a lot more confident than I would be in the same position.

5 Responses to “Other Groups Affected”

  1. Some Law Talking Guy says:

    The oldest legislative tactic in the book is to approach an organization that has the power to stop your bill and say, “I have the votes, you can’t stop us, but we will be magnanimous just so this can be bipartisan, so give me your edits by TOMORROW, and we’ll try to help you.”

    Only a newbie straight off the Hill would fall for that garbage, and given the lineup against the DISCLOSE Act, it is really surprising Chris Cox played this game. He should have known better, and it reflects badly on NRA to let itself get rolled that easy.

  2. Sebastian says:

    NRA got rolled? I could have sworn they got themselves exempted from this. The First Amendment sure got rolled, but that’s not NRA’s issues aside from their ability to defend the Second.

  3. Mikee says:

    The “gun lobby loophole” will undoubtedly be corrected either in the next Dem congress, or perhaps in reconciliation between House and Senate versions this time around.

    Special interests getting a preferential treatment in a bill! Shocking, I say, just shocking! Must fix that asap!

  4. scott in phx az says:

    The NRA should have refused to stop opposing the bill,

    whether that was the smart strategic thing for them to do (assuming that they couldn’t stop the bill otherwise) or not.

    I DON’T CARE!

    And I’m a 40 year LIFE MEMBER!

    Dammit, there are some things YOU DON’T COMPROMISE ON!

    THIS IS ONE OF THEM!

    I’ve advocated that NRA bashers are cutting off their nose to spite their face many times,

    but the STENCH OF THIS IS MAKING ME SICK!

    I may have to join the ranks of the “never a member of NRA again” if they don’t man up.

    Never thought I’d say but my 40+ year LIFE MEMBERSHIP is in peril.

  5. Sebastian says:

    What if the end result is we get this bill anyway, and NRA has to turn over it’s membership list to the FEC? Because that’s a very real possibility. As I mentioned before — the first attempt was all 501(c)(4)s, but the Dems wouldn’t go for that.

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