Skip to comments.McCain does about-face on grassroots reform bill
Posted on 01/18/2007 7:47:15 AM PST by neverdem
Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) has told conservative activists that he will vote to strip a key provision on grassroots lobbying from the reform package he previously supported.
The provision would require grassroots organizations to report on their fundraising activities and is strongly opposed by groups such as the National Right to Life Committee, Gun Owners of America, and the American Civil Liberties Union.
While grassroots groups on both sides of the political spectrum oppose the proposal, social conservative leaders such as Dr. James Dobson, founder of Focus on the Family, who broadcasts a radio program to hundreds of thousands of evangelical Christians, have been its most vehement critics.
McCain sponsored legislation last Congress that included an even broader requirement for grassroots lobbying coalitions to reveal their financial donors. But now he will vote to defeat a similar measure.
It would be politically dangerous for McCain to support disclosure because it would anger many conservative activists, including those who advocate against abortion rights or for gun ownership rights. He is courting many of them for his 2008 presidential campaign. McCains presidential exploratory committee announced yesterday that Maxine Sieleman, a socially conservative leader who founded the Iowa chapter of Concerned Women for America, had joined its camp.
In letters circulated on Capitol Hill this week, the National Right to Life Committee and Gun Owners of America warned senators that votes on the grassroots lobbying provision would affect legislative scorecards they tabulate for each lawmaker.
Sen. Bob Bennett (R-Utah) has sponsored the amendment to the lobbying reform package that would strip the provision. His amendment is expected to come to the floor for a vote today, said advocates opposing it.
Bennett said he was a little surprised to hear that McCain would support him but was delighted. McCain is considered one of the most authoritative voices on ethics- and lobbying-related issues in the Senate.
Its a very high priority, said Douglas Johnson, director of legislative affairs for the National Right to Life Committee. Johnson said ordinary grassroots activists from Arizona who had called McCains office were told by aides that he would support Bennetts amendment.
Jay Sekulow, chief counsel for the conservative American Center for Law and Justice, told The Hill that he had received confirmation from McCains staff yesterday that he would oppose the disclosure proposal.
Its huge, Sekulow said of the issues importance. Its the most significant restriction on grassroots activity in recent history. Id put it up there with the 2002 Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act.
McCain was the chief sponsor of the landmark 2002 campaign finance bill, a history that still angers many conservatives. They cite McCains sponsorship of that legislation as something that makes them wary about supporting his presidential bid. But McCains recent action could redefine him.
Hell do everything he can to appeal to conservatives he has already tried to silence, said John Velleco, director of federal affairs at Gun Owners of America, referring to McCains support of campaign finance reform. I think hes trying to gain the support of conservatives as much as he can.
Romneys doing the same thing, Velleco added, explaining that McCains rival for the nomination, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, is re-evaluating his past positions on gun ownership rights.
While McCain has privately told conservative groups that he will side with them, he was not ready to reveal his position yesterday. He opened yesterdays floor debate with a 15-minute speech on the lobbying reforms under consideration. While he urged his colleagues to support the creation of an office of public integrity, he made no mention of grassroots lobbying.
Immediately afterward he declined to state his position on grassroots disclosure.
Ill address it when it comes up, he told The Hill.
But McCains spokeswoman, Eileen McMenamin, confirmed that he would support the Bennett amendment.
Initially when Sen. McCain introduced legislation last year it had a grassroots provision, she said. Subsequent to that that he got a lot of feedback from groups that the requirements would be too onerous on them because of the reporting requirements.
McMenamin added that a grassroots lobbying disclosure requirement was not included in reform legislation McCain introduced at the beginning of this month.
Johnson, of the National Right to Life Committee, said that there is confusion about which groups would be affected by the pending regulation.
Under Section 220, anyone who is paid anything by an organization that spends any money at all to encourage more than 500 members of the general public to communicate with members of Congress, if he or she also has contacted congressional offices directly as few as two times, and has spent as little as 20 percent of his or her time on such direct lobbying and grassroots-motivating activities, would be required to register with Congress as a lobbyist and file detailed quarterly reports, wrote Johnson in a letter to Senate offices, adding, If enacted, it will disrupt the constitutionally protected activities of thousands of issue-oriented citizen groups from coast to coast.
McCains past allies in battles to reform government strongly support disclosure and were surprised to discover his position had changed.
We saw him supporting it last year, said Craig Holman, a lobbyist for Public Citizen.
It surprises me and it will surprise the rest of the reform community. I was really expecting him not to get involved in that provision and I had received no indication from his office that he was leaning against it.
From GOA: (note how many of those newly elected "conservative" democrats are on the list voting against our First Amendment rights. Wasn't it gweat that all those nasty wepublicans lost...certainly taught them a wesson!!! That's all folks....)
Big Win in the Senate... Thanks to Your Support!
Gun Owners of America E-Mail Alert
8001 Forbes Place, Suite 102, Springfield, VA 22151
Phone: 703-321-8585 / FAX: 703-321-8408
Friday, January 19, 2007
Congratulations! You have, once again, whupped the anti-gun zealots!
As Constitution-hating senators like California's Dianne Feinstein whined and complained, the Senate -- by a narrow largely-party-line vote of 55-43 -- struck language which would have required GOA to monitor and report on its communications with its members and friends (like you).
GOA has heard reports that there was an outpouring of calls against this anti-speech language on Capitol Hill, and that it made a huge difference.
In addition to the massive wave of grassroots opposition, GOA was also working in concert with key Hill players (many of them trained by GOA) to hammer out a legislative strategy that would either result in the death of the entire bill or, at a minimum, kill the dangerous
The good news came late on Thursday night when the Bennett amendment -- which deleted this nconstitutional "grassroots lobbying" reporting language contained in S. 1 -- was adopted by the narrow margin mentioned above.
The war is not over. The House has yet to produce its bill in this area -- and no one is betting that the House will "do the right thing." But we have won what perhaps will be the most important battle.
The 43 Senators who voted to take us down the road of more government regulation and more restrictions on the right of free speech -- a road that would eventually make it harder for all of us to petition our government servants -- are listed below:
Thank you for the thoughtful reply.
"He is not tone deaf, but he is firm in his objectives and beliefs. He is stubborn (which is exactly the trait that serves him best in the WOT), and he just disagrees with us on some issues such as immigration."
Immigration isn't that huge of a deal to me at this point. My opinion is actually slowly changing on the subject. Not so much due to the moral concerns, which do factor into it, but the pragmatic concerns for our future. Our national birth rate is at best, stable. Ironic as it may seem to many of us, including myself,....in 20 years I suspect that we're actually going to be looking for and competing for immigrants. We're going to need the added population.
My concern is not with immigration per se, it's the fact that illegal immigrants (and who knows who the heck they are?) are coming through the border without being vetted from a security standpoint. It's not just latinos looking for a better life, it's also members of criminal gangs and potential terrorists. I'm not for open immigration, but I am becoming a supporter of easier legal immigration as well as a policy that pro-actively seeks out the best potential Americans that other countries have to offer.
As for President Bush's character, by and large I think that he is a good person as well as a stubborn one. I don't regret voting for him. My concerns with him politically have been his willingness to go along to get along with profligate spending, and various legislation that has tended to reduce our freedom. The so-called campaign finance reform law is a prime example.
One thing that people grossly underestimate President Bush on is his intelligence. And frankly, it reveals a certain level of prejudice against southern males. He speaks with a drawl and is thus considered an ignoramus. The man went to Yale and (I believe) Harvard as well for his MBA. Family connections are not going to get you through a rigorous degree program like that. You have to have the raw intelligence to do it. He reminds me a lot of another southern politician, Sam Ervin, who used to play the dumb ol' southern boy routine to the hilt. Of course, he was a Harvard educated attorney, but he didn't let on to that.
"You may be correct and they need a little conservatism BUT they also limit the freedom of their members. How often do you see democrats stray from the "talking points" or the agenda? Look at what happened to Lieberman when he supported the president on the war. He was made an outcast."
I actually see it in almost the opposite light. But keep in mind that I'm speaking from the perspective of being an actual Democrat. The Democratic party is very populist. It's structured in such a way that you do have the opportunity to speak your mind. But that populism can be a double edged sword for those who are going against the majority in their local party. I think that Sen. Lieberman's problems need to be viewed in light of the circumstances within the CT Democratic party. This is a northeastern state with more than it's share of far left moonbats, particularly within the Democratic party. Sen. Lieberman was not representing the point of view that they wished to see represented. So they exercised their rights and ran a far left moonbat against Sen. Lieberman in the primary. And not that surprisingly, the far left moonbat won the primary.
You can view that as a "failure" of the Democratic party, or simply democracy in action. No one, not Sen. Lieberman, not President Bush is entitled to remain in political office. You tick off the folks who worked to elect you, and you may well find yourself out of a job. That's just the way it works in the Democratic party.
Interestingly, if Sen. Lieberman was running in a southern state, he would have never faced the primary challenge. Or if he did, the primary challenge would have been beaten down in short order. Why? Because southern Democrats are more conservative in general and would be more receptive to Sen. Lieberman's point of view.
"Not so today. It has been taken over by the far left/socialists. It has become anti-American, anti-God, anti-right to life (meaning killing unborn babies, live aborted babies, deformed babies, etc.)."
Yes, a lot of my fellow Democrats are socialist moonbats, including many in leadership positions. But do you know when and why that happened? I'll tell you. It happened in the 1980's and 1990's as a direct result of the mass anbandonment of the party by conservatives. As the conservatives departed, a power vacuum was left in their wake and you can see who filled it.
Let's also take a look at what this grand departure has brought about in the last 20 years. Has the abandonment of the Democratic party by conservatives brought with it a balanced budget? Has Roe v Wade been overturned? Is our contry more focused on the traditional principles of it's founding?
Funny. It doesn't look to me like the conservative strategy of abandoning the Democratic party in favor of the allegedly more conservative Republican party has played out very well for conservatives. I'd go even further in suggesting that it's been an unmitigated disaster for both conservatism and our country.
"I feel he hears clearly the complaints, but gears his reactions to what would be the reaction of the Office of President - not George Bush the man because he has utter respect for the office. "
The law is clear. He's not enforcing the law. In fact, his immigration plan will permanently sink the Republican Party and very likely this nation. I will NEVER support that. I don't care what party he's from.
"This explains his serving as President of all the people, Mexican, Muslim, democrats - all. "
Interesting assertion. He's not he President of Mexicans. They guy down south is. We're also at war with Islam, despite his "religion of peace" smokescreen. Being the President of Democrats would perhaps explain his support for liberal causes...
"These are the traits I see that are those of a great man - a real leader. And, the main thing - I fully trust this man to love America, protect her and protect her citizens as he sees this as the first duty of a president. "
Tell that to the thousands killed by illegal aliens every year.
So very nice to discuss politics with a democrat without all the rhetoric and hate.
I think you are right about conservatism being hurt over the years. One thing is the "water down" effect.
When liberal democrats gradually convert to conservatism they bring along many of their more liberal views and this tends to water down the conservatism. Of course without converts where do you get your growth.
And I think the worst thing that is happening to conservatism is the expectation of immediate gratification when conservative leaders are put in office. They can not comprehend that societies grow in one direction or another - they do not do "about faces". So our FR conservatives get mad when they don't see the immediate results and start griping and destroying our leaders along with the democrats.
Where does that leave us? It leaves us moving toward liberalism as the liberals are just hoping we will destroy our own. Conservatives need to keep on plugging as the socialists do. If you lose in one direction, move to another and keep on marching - always toward conservatism - never toward liberalism. And, it is not wise to join the enemy in destroying your leaders.
So, now we are at square one again - hoping to rebuild after the democrats under Pelosi wreck their havoc on America.
We are always in rebuild mode because of the ignorance of those expecting a superman to move into office - overcome all laws, all majorities, all things in the least possible and give them the conservatism of our founders.
It won't ever happen and they continually destroy us with their childish expectations so they in effect are working for liberalism and it is succeeding.
They should ask themselves why.
I hope you will open your eyes and see the damage happening to your party with the "moonbats". We have to protect this country, we cannot tolerate a media that supports our enemies, we cannot coddle those wanting to kill us.
And may I mention something I have noticed in the democrat party. Years ago we read the Communist Manifesto in which they laid out the planned steps of the march of communism.
Eerily I see those steps being put in place by the democratic party.
-Dumbing down of the citizens.
-Removing God from public places
-Undercutting our military
-De-arm the citizens
-Instilling communist doctine in the schools to teach the future generations in what they want them to learn
-Government control over all facets of life, increase dependency on government. Big, big government control.
These things evoke terror in me and I will never be a part of it.
I have also noticed from the democrats and their goals.
-Laws and legal system favorable to criminals (probably because of the potential voters
-Willingness to allow immigrants free entry (probably because of voting blocks)
-Anti-America teaching, blame America first, consideration that patriotism is to be downplayed.
-The goal of an international world government. Which is why they seek to pull down America as a superpower.
-The hampering of America by denying drilling in Anwar, by the environmental program gaining control of America's lands and putting them under the control of foreign nations (this is the actual result of environmentalists denying property rights over a "endangered species", a pristine area not to be touched by drilling. They then form treaties which put the control of these lands under the whims of foreign governments.
And I could go on and on.
McLame is a conservative when it suits him. Kind of like Romney.
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