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NRA Files Suit Against Sham Campaign Finance "Reform"

Friday, March 29, 2002

Hours after campaign finance "reform"—officially known as the "Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act" (BCRA)—was signed into law on Wednesday, NRA made good on its promise to launch a legal challenge to this attack on the First Amendment. NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre and NRA-ILA Executive Director James Jay Baker issued a joint statement announcing the filing of the NRA suit, stating, "When the federal courthouse opened for business today, NRA was there—we have filed suit to invalidate this unconstitutional infringement on the First Amendment rights of the NRA and our four million members nationwide."

The statement went on to say, "We are proud to be the first plaintiff to formally ask the federal court to invalidate these new limits on the political speech of ordinary citizens because we believe that this law cannot be allowed to stand—not even for a moment. Sen. Paul Wellstone (D-Minn.) said on the floor of the United States Senate during the campaign finance debate that it was his intention to silence the NRA. As a direct and intentional target of this law, NRA has no choice but to protect our right to be heard."

"Through this law," the statement continued, "Congress has essentially granted speech licenses to giant corporate conglomerates such as Viacom, Disney Corporation and General Electric Company by allowing those corporations unlimited rights to spend money talking about issues and candidates, while silencing the voices of ordinary citizens and citizens groups such as NRA. Why should corporations such as these media conglomerates, all of which own multiple non-news business enterprises and spend millions of dollars lobbying Congress—why should those corporations be allowed to spend whatever they wish, whenever they wish, saying whatever they wish regarding any issue or candidate—when a non-profit citizens organizations such as ours is prohibited from even responding via the broadcast media?"

Click here for a complete copy of Wednesday’s joint statement from LaPierre and Baker.

Also of interest is one of the attorneys who has been selected to defend this legislative attack on the First Amendment. Former U.S. Solicitor General Seth Waxman will be an integral part of the legal team chosen by Congressional proponents of the BCRA to defend the new law. Waxman, you will recall, was the Solicitor General under Bill Clinton who wrote the now infamous letter that confirmed the Clinton-Gore Administration’s belief that law-abiding citizens have "no personal constitutional right, under the Second Amendment, to own or to use a gun." (Click here to read Waxman`s letter) Perhaps his argument will now be that law-abiding citizens and the organizations that represent them have no personal constitutional right, under the First Amendment, to exercise political free speech!

The overturn of campaign finance "reform" provisions that restrict our rights will continue to remain a top priority for NRA, and we will report further developments on this front.

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Established in 1975, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) is the "lobbying" arm of the National Rifle Association of America. ILA is responsible for preserving the right of all law-abiding individuals in the legislative, political, and legal arenas, to purchase, possess and use firearms for legitimate purposes as guaranteed by the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.