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June 18, 2010

Campaign Finance Laws: Congress Exempts the NRA and AARP from the DISCLOSE Act

We have two new campaigns on our wish-list schedule for next week . . .

1. To repeal the campaign finance laws that protect incumbents and cripple challengers
2. To oppose the so-called DISCLOSE Act that seeks to impose new burdens on free expression in political campaigns

As you may remember, we helped contribute to the victory in the Citizens United case. This Supreme Court decision restored some First Amendment protections to organizations like Downsize DC.

The politicians, of course, can’t stand anything that enhances your power, so they’ve responded to the Citizens United victory by trying to impose new burdens on us, and you. The result is the DISCLOSE Act. We’ll be telling you more about the DISCLOSE Act on Monday, meanwhile . . .

It’s important to understand that campaign finance laws do not do what the politicians and the media claim they do. Laws limiting campaign contributions, and compelling disclosure of contributor information, have been around since the early 1970s, but ask yourself . . .

* Are special interests less powerful, or more powerful than they were then?
* Do you have more influence over what your elected representatives do, or less?
* Do incumbents face more competition from challengers, or less?
* Is politics less corrupt, or more corrupt?
* Have politicians become more fiscally responsible, or less?
* Have politicians become more likely, or less likely, to honor their oaths to obey the Constitution?

If campaign finance laws worked the way people assume they do, then all of the above questions would have positive answers, such as “Yes, special interests are less powerful than they were in the past.” Instead, it appears the opposite is true. Things have gotten worse, not better.

Don’t be fooled!

* Campaign finance laws make incumbent politicians and the media more powerful, and you less powerful.
* Campaign finance laws make it almost impossible for you to fire and replace your so-called representatives.
* Campaign finance laws cripple your ability to join together with others to fund political advertising campaigns.
* But campaign finance laws leave media companies free to raise and spend as much money they want to influence public opinion.

Unlike you, and the organizations you support, media companies enjoy completely unrestricted freedoms of speech, press, and association. They can raise and spend unlimited amounts to tell you . . .

* what you should believe, and which candidates are worth considering,
* while completely ignoring or ridiculing candidates who don’t support the Establishment Ideology of Crony Capitalism and Welfare-Warfare Statism.

No wonder politicians and the media love campaign finance laws. Alas . . .

It seems like maybe the National Rifle Association loves campaign finance laws too. The NRA claims to be a freedom-loving organization, but why then were they NOW declining to oppose the DISCLOSE Act? I’ll tell you why . . .

* The NRA made a deal with Congressional leaders to exempt themselves from the burdens of the DISCLOSE Act.
* The NRA was willing to remain “on the sidelines” about the DISCLOSE Act, as long as it didn’t have to abide by it.
* This was effectively a license to support the bill, for so-called Blue Dog Democrats, like Heath Shuler. This bill wasn’t going to pass without the NRA permitting it.  
* In other words, the NRA is betraying the First Amendment, and throwing you and everyone else under the bus.

Who else benefits from the sell-out deal the NRA made with Congressional leaders? AARP. Other membership organizations with a half-million or more messengers. And what kind of organizations are going to suffer most because of this sell-out. Groups like DownsizeDC.org and Citizens United.

We plan, on Monday, to start slamming Congress, telling them to kill the DISCLOSE Act. But there may be a House vote, TODAY. If you’re already registered to use our Educate the Powerful System, we encourage you to use the information we provide in each of our campaigns to find your Representatives phone number, and to call telling them you oppose the DISCLOSE Act.

Yet as of now, Monday’s Dispatch will tell you more about why the DISCLOSE Act is bad, and give you ammunition to persuade others, and to pressure Congress. So be ready to fight. But that’s not all . . .

We’re also hoping to launch a new campaign going after ALL of the incumbent-protecting campaign finance laws. We keep hearing people say that they want to “throw out the bums,” and elect good people in their place. Well, there is ZERO chance that this could ever happen as long as the campaign finance laws remain in effect.

To do the research, writing, and programming necessary to hound Congress, we rely on your support. We need your support at this time. If . . .

* You like what we’ve been doing
* And want to see us go after the campaign finance laws
* Then please start a monthly pledge, or make a contribution to further our work.

Monthly pledges make a real difference. But each month, some folks lose jobs or stop their pledge for some reason. Without some new pledgers, we’ll have less income this month and next month, then we had last month. 

You can make your contribution here, using our secure online contribution form.

Remember, your support is our progress.

Jim Babka
President
DownsizeDC.org, Inc.

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