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McCain "Incumbent Protection" Bill
Presents Serious Threat to Gun Owners

by John Gaver
March 18, 2001


Arizona Senator John McCain (R) and Wisconsin Democrat Senator Russ Feingold (D) have introduced a bill designed to silence those who would expose the anti-Constitution voting records of incumbents.  This from the guy who campaigned on campaign finance reform.  It looks like the only reform that he really wanted was reform that will help keep incumbents like him in office.

Under the thin guise of reforming campaign finance laws, Senate Bill S.27, inappropriately named the "Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act of 2001," would allow the government to seize the membership lists of groups such as the National Rifle Association, the Gun Owners of America, the Second Amendment Foundation and other self defense advocacy organizations, who do nothing more than expose the voting record of incumbent Senators and Representatives.  As the bill is worded, if an organization spends over $10,000 preparing for and participating in TV and radio broadcasts which mention specific officeholder-candidates within two months of an election, they must divulge the names of all of their members who donated $1000 or more to the organization.

What this amounts to is De Facto Gun Registration, since it's reasonable to assume that almost all of the members of self defense advocacy organizations are gun owners.

This bill has little to do with campaign finance and the only reform intended is to help insure that incumbents, such as Senators McCain and Feingold, will be re-elected.

The real danger in this bill is very subtle and comes in two parts.

  1. The definition in this bill of the term, "Public Communication," although it does not specifically mention the Internet, can easily be construed to include the Internet.

  2. `(22) PUBLIC COMMUNICATION- The term `public communication' means a communication by means of any broadcast, cable, or satellite communication, newspaper, magazine, outdoor advertising facility, mass mailing, or telephone bank to the general public, or any other form of general public political advertising.

    That means that any organization that spends more than $10,000 per year maintaining their web site and posts the voting records of specific Congressmen and Senators on that site within 60 days of an election, as does Gun Owners of America, for example, would be required to turn over their membership records to the government.

  3. A complete reading of this nefarious bill reveals that all activity in preparation for the specified communications shall be included.  In other words, if an ad refers to a web site, then a portion of the cost of web site maintenance must be included.  Research that went into gathering data used in an advertisement would have to be included.  That way, an advertisement that costs only $5,000 to produce and air, would be pushed over the $10,000 limit by additional overhead costs (web site maintenance, telephones, research and possibly even office space).

    The whole idea of S.27 is not to make campaign finance more fair, but to force these organizations (large or small) to reveal their membership, because they threaten to expose the voting records of sitting Congressmen and Senators, such as Senators McCain and Feingold, I might mention.

And, to imagine that some people actually believed all of the drivel that John McCain was spewing during the campaign, about campaign finance reform and believed that he really did want substantive campaign finance reform.  I wonder if they aren't secretly glad now, that most Republicans saw through McCain's hoax.

S.27 is scheduled to come before the Senate between Monday, March 19th and Monday March 26th, 2001.

It is imperative that each and every one of us contact both of our respective Senators TODAY and ask them to filibuster and vote against the anti–gun McCain-Feingold bill, S. 27.

To contact your Senator by phone, call 202-224-3121, or toll-free at 1-877-762-8762.

Contact your Senators by email here.


Copyright 2001 John Gaver
All rights reserved.


"All that is required for evil to triumph, is that good men do nothing."
— Thomas Jefferson


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