As TTAG has reported, the National Rifle Association (NRA) negotiated an exemption from a forthcoming campaign ad disclosure legislation. H.R. 5175, the DISCLOSE Act “Requires any person making independent expenditures exceeding $10,000 [for a political advertisement] to: (1) file a report electronically within 24 hours [to the with the Federal Election Commission (FEC)]; and (2) file a new report electronically each time the person makes or contracts to make independent expenditures in an aggregate amount equal to or greater than $10,000 (or $1,000, if less than 20 days before an election) with respect to the same election. It also “Amends the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 to require registered lobbyists to report information on independent expenditures or electioneering communications of at least $1,000 to the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House of Representatives.” In other words, corporate campaign financiers like say, the NRA, would have to disclose their expenditures. Except not the NRA, now. And why, pray tell, not them?
Here are the relevant bits from the NRA’s press release:
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 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 . . .
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.
I’m confused. How does disclosing the amount of money you spend electioneering and to whom it’s going equate to denying the NRA its First Amendment rights? And if it does, why does that same principle apply to other groups that didn’t get an exemption? And if it does, how can the NRA say that it defends its own First Amendment rights, but not those of others?