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How a bill becomes ironic

A friend, commenting on the Democrats' decision to exempt the NRA from the DISCLOSE Act: "I'd have imagined that if the Republicans developed a bill to try and respond to Citizens United, they'd have exempted their friends, like the NRA. I wouldn't have imagined that if the Democrats developed a bill to try and respond to Citizens United, they, too, would exempt the Republicans' friends, like the NRA."

Meanwhile, House Democrats are now saying that the rules would also exempt the AARP and Humane Society, though it doesn't seem like anyone knew that this morning (and it doesn't appear that either group asked for the exemption). To make the obvious point, there's really no reason that any of these interest groups should be exempt from the new disclosure requirements. The only reason that they're getting this consideration is, well, that they're powerful interest groups and powerful interest groups receive undue consideration from lawmakers. Which is exactly what the DISCLOSE Act is supposed to prevent. And that, kids, is how a bill becomes an irony.

By Ezra Klein  |  June 15, 2010; 3:15 PM ET
 
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Comments

NRS - less than 15% of funds are raised from corporations. It is truly the first civil rights organization.

Posted by: WrongfulDeath | June 15, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

"House Democrats are now saying that the rules would also exempt the AARP . . . though it doesn't seem like anyone knew that this morning"

I'd bet somebody knew that this morning. You think it was just making a deal with the NRA that compelled this exemption? ;)

Those AARP folks have been around the block a few times. And they play hardball.

Posted by: Kevin_Willis | June 15, 2010 4:05 PM | Report abuse

Where is Obama's change? Why is he not interested this 'Washington as usual'? Why can he not threaten 'veto'?

Why Media does not ask him or his spokesperson 'if the whole point of Disclosure act' is to know who sponsored the political ad, why is it okay to hide AARP and NRA.

Let these b*s*a*ds be on record letting us know that all this talk about 'changing Washington' was all lie. They all will be same liars like Chief Justice Roberts who wants to destroy whatever semblance of Democracy is there in this country.

Really, there does not seem to be much difference between 'pimps' and our Congressional members from both parties.

Shame on Pelosi and Reid.

Posted by: umesh409 | June 15, 2010 4:17 PM | Report abuse

I'm totally sympathetic to your point, umesh, but the difference is that the Rs would continue to sell this country down the road to corporations. If they were still in power, unemployment would be 14% and rising, deregulation would be continuing apace, etc.

Posted by: AZProgressive | June 15, 2010 4:31 PM | Report abuse

Wait, doesn't the AARP make more than 15% of its income from selling life insurance?

What's a corporation in this context?

Posted by: adamiani | June 15, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

I’m not sure who is saying what, but AARP hasn’t been involved at all in the bill.

We haven’t taken a position on the bill, and we have not lobbied on either the underlying legislation or the proposed exemption. We haven’t even seen the final language beyond what’s being reported. From what I understand of the exemption, it’s a moot point. AARP does not engage in express candidate advocacy. We don’t endorse candidates, make political contributions, or – I think relevant to the DISCLOSE Act – do any election-based advertising for or against any candidate or party. Simply put, we just don’t engage in the kind of express candidate activities that would receive an exemption in the new bill.

We appreciate and have generally supported government transparency throughout our history, and we’ll continue to follow the lobbying disclosure requirements that cover what we actually do. It’s absurd and divorced from reality, however, to suggest that we have “bullied” lawmakers to carve out exemptions for AARP for activities we don’t actually do.

Posted by: jimdau | June 15, 2010 5:16 PM | Report abuse

--"And that, kids, is how a bill becomes an irony."--

It's the same moron play that will have the Health Reform Act turning U.S. health care into a complete shambles. There is no difference, Klein.

Posted by: msoja | June 15, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

--"AARP hasn’t been involved at all in the bill."--

They were sure spending their dues money on behalf of the health care takeover, though, weren't they?

AARP is a pro-socialist disgrace, and anyone wasting his money on that crew deserves what he gets.

Thought you'd like to know.

Posted by: msoja | June 15, 2010 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Sounds like fiddle music in Rome to me.

Posted by: RalfW | June 15, 2010 6:17 PM | Report abuse

should've-could've spent energy and time on AGJOBS and DREAM ACT.

Posted by: jackjudge4000yahoocom | June 15, 2010 6:51 PM | Report abuse

It's interesting that some right-wingers are mad with their fellow right-wingers in the NRA. I don't blame the NRA, though. If Big Business wants to try to defeat DISCLOSE, they've got plenty of money to try to do it. It's not the NRA's problem. They got their piece of the pie for their members, and they're outta there.

Posted by: mypitts2 | June 15, 2010 10:39 PM | Report abuse

I'm so sick of the stranglehold that the Humane Society has over our politics. Especially with the Blue Dogs...

Posted by: evolushawn | June 16, 2010 9:58 AM | Report abuse

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