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Will House GOP Disappoint on 527s?

I just returned from an upbeat interview with Cam Edwards at NRA News, a Sirius Satellite Radio talk show (Patriot 144 for listeners) that has the McCain-Feingold campaign finance bill to thank for its birth. Cam is a huge proponent of free speech in political campaigns — key to the NRA’s existence.

I told Cam’s listeners (click here to watch the replay) that the 527 Reform Act (H.R. 513) being debated on the House floor today was just as damaging as McCain-Feingold. It sets a bad precedent that will lead to a slippery slope; as soon as Congress closes one loophole, it’ll need to close another. It’s a very dangerous path to follow.

A few notes on today’s activity (with recap of the House vote to follow later):

  • The American Conservative Union announced it will score the bill as part of its ratings. For members who care about the 100% rating from ACU, this is huge. (Hat tip to Andy Roth at Club for Growth.)
  • Speaking of Mr. Roth, he’s adopted a take-no-prisoners approach to covering this debate. Andy’s organization has a lot at stake, but it’s also put forth principled reasons for opposing the H.R. 513. Kudos to the team over there for leading the way.

    The Club for Growth’s blog today features a letter from its executive director, David Keating, to House Majority Leader John Boehner (R.-Ohio). Keating takes Boehner’s press shop to task for distorting the facts about 527s. It’s an excellent read.

  • Tim Chapman at Townhall.com reports that Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.) will vote against H.R. 513 on the House floor. “This puts opponents of the bill one step closer to defeating it on a narrow vote,” Chapman writes.
  • Mary Katharine Ham at HughHewitt.com slaps around Republicans who will vote for the bill: “Seriously, there’s nothing tackier than being a sore loser when you didn’t even lose. Republicans won in 2004, when conservative 527s were outspent by liberal ones by many, many factors. But the Swift Boat Vets’ 527 is arguably one of the principle reasons the Kerry campaign ran aground. Conservatives will only get better at using this new resource to their advantage.” (Hat tip to Andy at Club for Growth.)

    Good work, MK. Having Hewitt on board is huge, especially with his new book, “Painting the Map Red,” out last week. (Full disclosure: Our sister company, Regnery, is the publisher.)

  • Finally, Rep. Jeff Flake (R.-Ariz.) came out against the bill. With Flake and Pence against it, they might be able to win over a few other Republican Study Committee members in the process.(Hat tip again to Andy at Club for Growth.)

Stay tuned for reaction to the vote.

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Written By

Mr. Bluey, a contributing editor to Human Events, is director of the Center for Media & Public Policy at The Heritage Foundation. He maintains a blog at RobertBluey.com.

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