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Old June 15, 2010, 12:42 PM   #1
Bartholomew Roberts
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How powerful is the NRA politically?

So powerful that the latest campaign finance legislation seeking to change the law after Citizens United just carved out a specific exception to the law to avoid NRA opposition.

That's right - with a Democratic majority House and Senate and a former Joyce Foundation board member as President, they gave the NRA a pass on campaign finance reform to avoid that fight with the NRA.

Of course, the NRAs real power comes from its members; but this is a good example of how the day-in, day-out work of those members over the past 10 years has changed politics.
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Old June 15, 2010, 12:53 PM   #2
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Linky links to articles on the subject?
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Old June 15, 2010, 01:19 PM   #3
Bartholomew Roberts
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Source: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0610/38500.html (Note link has pop-up ads)

Quote:
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.
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Old June 15, 2010, 01:32 PM   #4
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Bill Clinton blamed the NRA for the dems losing control of the House during his presidency.
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Old June 15, 2010, 01:43 PM   #5
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And Al Gore blamed NRA in large part for his losing the 2000 presidential election.
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Old June 15, 2010, 03:59 PM   #6
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I can't believe that you guys are supporting the NRA ... after the huge battle to get McCain-Feingold overturned, the NRA is now selling out dozens of organizations that are not their size or longevity in order to be exempt from the law the Dems are concocting to gut the court decision!! I've been a member of the NRA for years, but their decision to get into bed with gun-hating liberals sticks in my craw. This is NOT a good thing. There comes a time when you have to stand by your beliefs, and that's NOT what the NRA is doing here, at least in my humble opinion.
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Old June 15, 2010, 04:08 PM   #7
Bartholomew Roberts
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The NRA is a single issue organization - and that issue is the Second Amendment, not the First. The only reason the NRA opposed McCain-Feingold was because it restricted their ability to support the Second Amendment. This new legislation specifically exempts the NRA, so it doesn't have that problem.

There is lots of legislation that I think is a bad idea and I do not want to see pass; however, that doesn't mean I want to see the NRA get involved in everyone of those fights. I want the NRA to develop a broad base of support for the Second Amendment - and it cannot do that if it is busy getting involved in every single piece of legislation.

Quote:
the NRA is now selling out dozens of organizations that are not their size or longevity in order to be exempt from the law the Dems are concocting to gut the court decision!!
The NRA doesn't owe anything to smaller organizations with different lobbying goals. It owes its attention to its members and should be doing what it can to promote its stated mission. You can't very well sell out somebody when you didn't ever have a duty to assist them in the first place.

Quote:
There comes a time when you have to stand by your beliefs
The NRA is over 4 million members. Which of those members beliefs are they supposed to stand by when they start getting involved in non-Second Amendment legislation? What about the members that don't agree? Should they continue to support the NRA fighting against their beliefs on other issues just because they have the same belief on guns?

The NRA is a single-issue organization for a good reason.
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Old June 15, 2010, 05:07 PM   #8
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"There comes a time when you have to stand by your beliefs, and that's NOT what the NRA is doing here, at least in my humble opinion."

Your mean YOUR beliefs, as in you, the person, and what you believe?

I certainly can't see you referring to NRA's beliefs, which are ONLY support of the right of all law-abiding Americans to own and use firearms for sport and defense.

That's the only belief that NRA has, and only belief that it should have.

This action furthers NRA's ability to protect and defend the rights of gunowners everywhere.
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Old June 15, 2010, 06:07 PM   #9
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The GOA is uncharacteristically restrained in their message on this topic:

Quote:
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!
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Old June 15, 2010, 06:27 PM   #10
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GOA mentions NRA at least 17 times in that article....too bad they can't stand on their own accomplishments.
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Old June 15, 2010, 09:30 PM   #11
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A few thoughts.

Gun laws in the USA would not be as friendly to the gun owner if the NRA was not around. We can look at their mistakes (future and past) but we have to give them credit. Can you imagine what the state of concealed carry would be if the NRA had not fought for the right to carry concealed.

And, even though the congress has a democratic majority, least we forget there are a number of 'blue dog' democrats who are as gun friendly as republicans.
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Old June 15, 2010, 10:03 PM   #12
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Well put, RETG.

Quote:
I can't believe that you guys are supporting the NRA ... after the huge battle to get McCain-Feingold overturned, the NRA is now selling out dozens of organizations that are not their size or longevity in order to be exempt from the law the Dems are concocting to gut the court decision!
The NRA is not supporting this bill. They are simply not getting involved, which makes sense, since this isn't a 2nd Amendment issue. If they did, they'd be accused of going off the reservation.

The NRA is capable of striking fear into the hearts of legislators. Despite a modest lobbying budget, they are still the 800lb gorilla in this fight.
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Old June 16, 2010, 06:41 AM   #13
Bartholomew Roberts
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Quote:
The GOA is uncharacteristically restrained in their message on this topic:
I think the GOA news alert is more moderate than usual only because about 90% of the article is a reprint of the Politico.com article.
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Old June 16, 2010, 07:17 AM   #14
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Quote:
The NRA is not supporting this bill. They are simply not getting involved, which makes sense, since this isn't a 2nd Amendment issue.
So it was a second amendment issue that the NRA was threatening to oppose, then the NRA got their exemption, and suddenly it is not a second amendment issue. Is that right?
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Old June 16, 2010, 07:26 AM   #15
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Quote:
Gun laws in the USA would not be as friendly to the gun owner if the NRA was not around.
The good they do does not mean they should not be criticized when it's appropriate. In this case, it looks a lot to me like the NRA is getting special treatment, and is willing to abandon smaller groups, such as the SAF.

Considering the NRA's initial reaction to the Parker/Heller matter, I'd say we need the non-mainstream groups at least as much as we need the NRA.
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Old June 16, 2010, 08:19 AM   #16
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No, it was never a Second Amendment issue. It was a First Amendment issue. The NRA's ability to advocate for the Second was limited by campaign finance legislation. The new legislation doesn't do that because the NRA is exempted. It may limit other, smaller RKBA groups who don't have the political power of the NRA; but what does the NRA "owe" to those groups?

If the NRA opposes the legislation, then:

1. They irritate the Dem leadership which currently has large majorities in both houses.
2. They lose their exemption - meaning that if the legislation passes anyway they will be required to give up lobbying within 90 days of an election or disclose their membership list.

So what is in the best interest of the NRA membership?
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Old June 16, 2010, 08:23 AM   #17
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So what is in the best interest of the NRA membership?
You mean in the next year or two, or for all time? Because an exemption given today to buy the NRA's silence can be attacked tomorrow as a special loophole and taken away.
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Old June 16, 2010, 08:52 AM   #18
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You mean in the next year or two, or for all time? Because an exemption given today to buy the NRA's silence can be attacked tomorrow as a special loophole and taken away.
While this is true, the exemption is generic and will likely encompass a large number of lobbying organizations, not just the NRA. From a National Review article...

http://corner.nationalreview.com/pos...Q4N2E3YTM1MmM=
Quote:
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.”
(emphasis mine)

Although I have no hard data to back this up, I suspect that this will also exempt some prominent left-wing organizations, specifically member-supported environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and the National Wildlife Federation. Furthermore, I foresee groups that don't quite qualify for the exemption making a push to get themselves qualified. (For instance, an organization might try to increase its membership from ~800,000 to the magic 1 million mark by creating a "Junior Membership" that costs $5 instead of the normal $30 and doesn't include the magazine subscription.)

Future attempts to close the "loophole" will probably be politically difficult because the effort will be opposed on both sides of the aisle.
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Old June 16, 2010, 09:47 AM   #19
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From Chris Cox, ILA Director

I received this via my association with the Members' Councils here in California:

http://www.nraila.org/Legislation/Fe...d.aspx?id=5888


NRA-ILA Executive Director Chris W. Cox's Letter to Members of Congress on H.R. 5175, the Disclose Act

Thursday, June 10, 2010


http://www.nraila.org/media/PDFs/DiscloseAct52710.pdf

May 26, 2010

Dear Member of Congress:

I am writing to express the National Rifle Association's strong concerns with H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act, as well as our opposition to this bill in its current form. It is our sincere hope that these concerns will be addressed as this legislation is considered by the full House.

Earlier this year, in Citizens United v. FEC, the Supreme Court struck down the ban on certain political speech by nonprofit membership associations such as the NRA. In an attempt to characterize that ruling as something other than a vindication of the free speech and associational rights of millions of individual American citizens, H.R. 5175 attempts to reverse that decision.

Under the First Amendment, as recognized in a long line of Supreme Court cases, citizens have the right to speak and associate privately and anonymously. H.R. 5175, however, would require the NRA to turn our membership and donor lists over to the government and to disclose top donors on political advertisements. The bill would empower the Federal Election Commission to require the NRA to reveal private, internal discussions with our four million members about political communications. This unnecessary and burdensome requirement would leave it in the hands of government officials to make a determination about the type and amount of speech that would trigger potential criminal penalties.

H.R. 5175 creates a series of byzantine disclosure requirements that have the obvious effect of intimidating speech. The bill, for example, requires "top-five funder" disclosures on TV ads that mention candidates for federal office from 90 days prior to a primary election through the general election; "top-two funder" disclosure on similar radio ads during that period; "significant funder" and "top-five funder" disclosures on similar mass mailings during that period; and "significant funder" disclosure for similar "robocalls" during that period. Internet communications are covered if placed for a fee on another website, such as the use of banner ads that mention candidates for federal office. Even worse, no exceptions are included for organizations communicating with their members. This is far worse than current law and would severely restrict the various ways that the NRA communicates with our members and like-minded individuals.

While there are some groups that have run ads and attempted to hide their identities, the NRA isn't one of them. The NRA has been in existence since 1871. Our four million members across the country contribute for the purpose of speaking during elections and participating in the political process. When the NRA runs ads, we clearly and proudly put our name on them. Indeed, that's what our members expect us to do. There is no reason to include the NRA in overly burdensome disclosure and reporting requirements that are supposedly aimed at so-called "shadow" groups.

On the issue of reporting requirements, the bill mandates that the NRA electronically file all reports with the FEC within 24 hours of each expenditure. Within 24 hours of FEC posting of the reports, the NRA would be required to put a hyperlink on our website to the exact page on which the reports appear on the FEC's website - and keep that link: active for at least one year following the date of the general election. Independent Expenditure reports would have to disclose all individuals who donate $600 or more to the NRA during the reporting period and Electioneering Communication reports would have to disclose all individuals who donate $1,000 or more to the NRA during the reporting period. There are literally thousands of NRA donors who would meet those thresholds, so these requirements would create a significant and unwarranted burden.

Some have argued that under the bill, all the NRA would have to do to avoid disclosing our $600 or $1,000 level donors is to create a "Campaign-Related Activity Account." Were we to set up such an account, however, we would be precluded from transferring more than $10,000 from our general treasury to the account; all individual donors to that account would have to specifically designate their contributions in that manner and would have to limit their contributions to $9,999; the burdensome disclosure requirements for ads, mailings and robocalls would still apply; and the NRA would be prohibited from spending money on election activity from any other source - including the NRA's Political Victory Fund (our PAC). In sum, this provision is completely unworkable.

Unfortunately, H.R. 5175 attacks nearly all of the NRA's political speech by creating an arbitrary patchwork of unprecedented reporting and disclosure requirements. Under the bill, the NRA would have to track the political priorities of each of our individual members - all four million of them. The cost of complying with these requirements would be immense and significantly restrict our ability to speak.

As noted above, there is no legitimate reason to include the NRA in H.R. 5175's overly burdensome disclosure and reporting requirements. Therefore, we will continue to work with members from both parties to address these issues. Should our concerns not be resolved - and to date, they have not been - the NRA will have no choice but to oppose passage of this legislation.

Sincerely,


Chris W. Cox
Executive Director
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Old June 16, 2010, 11:18 AM   #20
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Quote:
You mean in the next year or two, or for all time? Because an exemption given today to buy the NRA's silence can be attacked tomorrow as a special loophole and taken away.
You seem to be assuming that the NRA opposing the legislation would kill it; which isn't a given. The Democrats have 59 seats in the Senate and a strong majority in the House and there are no shortage of people who think the Citizens United decision was a bad one - in fact, I've defended the Citizens United decision with fellow gun owners HERE on this forum.

If the NRA has a sure thing, should they risk it? And what level of certainty should they have before they do?
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Old June 16, 2010, 01:18 PM   #21
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A sure thing...

The NRA is negotiating a "sure thing" with the same people that had the IRS audit them throughout most of the 90s. The same people that gave us Brady, Lautenberg and the AWB. The same people that wanted to leave the trial lawyers the capacity to sue the gun industry out of existence.

The only "sure thing" here is that the NRA is doing what they accused the anti's of doing...picking and choosing which of the Bill of Rights they'll support. All that need be done here is to say, "no", and then have the membership lean on their representatives to vote "no".

And here's a question...would the Dems have offered this deal to the NRA if they thought they could have passed this latest abomination in the face of their opposition? No. This is classic "divide and conquer". The NRA is negotiating to be eaten last.

EDITED: And if campaign finance reform is the goal, why does the goverment always have to have MORE power? Here's some reform...any citizen or US corporation can donate as much as they want to whomever they want. But every dime has to be disclosed within 24 hours. Every. Dime. This, as opposed to yet another byzantine set of rules, limits, exceptions, etc. Freedom. How's that for a concept?
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Old June 16, 2010, 01:21 PM   #22
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Quote:
GOA mentions NRA at least 17 times in that article....too bad they can't stand on their own accomplishments.

The little GOA has accomplished little in their short life span. What they have done is whine, caterwaul and lie about the NRA in an attempt to get folks to quit the NRA.
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Old June 16, 2010, 01:52 PM   #23
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"GOA mentions NRA at least 17 times in that article....too bad they can't stand on their own accomplishments."

As far as I can tell, yelling about NRA and asking for money (to continue to yell about NRA?) are the only things GOA have ever accomplished.
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Old June 16, 2010, 02:33 PM   #24
Zander1146
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H.r. 5175, the disclose act

Yea, I just found out about this "H.R. 5175, THE DISCLOSE ACT"!!!!

It kind of makes me MAD!!! I just joined the NRA last November for a year!

Should I send them a nasty e-mail or just forgot it?
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Old June 16, 2010, 03:07 PM   #25
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Quote:
And here's a question...would the Dems have offered this deal to the NRA if they thought they could have passed this latest abomination in the face of their opposition? No. This is classic "divide and conquer". The NRA is negotiating to be eaten last.
Considering that the sponsor of the bill to except the NRA isn't part of the Dem leadership, I'd say a more likely explanation is the Democratic leadership has let it be known that this bill will be a party discipline vote and the Blue Dog Dems are trying not to go into the November elections with a negative rating from the NRA.

IF it is a party discipline vote AND the Dems can hold that line, then there is no question that it is passing.

Quote:
Should I send them a nasty e-mail or just forgot it?
If you are a member of an organization and they aren't living up to what you expect out of them, you should absolutely let them know - whether that is a Congressman, Homeowners Association or the NRA.
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