Some Amendments Are More Important than Others

More on the National Rifle Association’s arrangement with top House Democrats, an amendment to H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act, that would exempt the NRA from the speech-chilling disclosure requirements and other limits on the First Amendment included in the legislative response to Citizens United v. FEC. According to the Campaign for Competitive Politics, the language is:

Draft amendment affecting the NRA as part of a “Manager’s Amendment” for consideration this week in the House Rules Committee:
Exempt section 501(c)(4) organizations” are also exempt from new reporting requirements.  These are 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. 

Former FEC Member Hans von Spakovsky of the Heritage Foundation observes, “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, which will 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.”

The NRA’s protection of its own prerogatives has provoked a volley of protest from conservative activists and supporters of political speech. Expect a House Rules Committee meeting on Wednesday and a floor vote by Friday.

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