The Club for Growth, with its 35,000 members, plans to score a “NO” vote as a pro-economic growth vote in its annual rating of Congress on BOTH the rule and final passage of H.R. 4975 (lobbying reform). If the rule adopted by the Rules Committee late yesterday is changed so that H.R. 513 (the 527 bill) is not added to lobbying reform, then we will not score a vote against H.R. 4975 or the rule.
We have made this unprecedented decision to score both the rule and the final vote because the two proposed acts by the House would together result in the text of H.R. 513 being added to the bill upon passage. H.R. 513 contains language that proposes a breathtaking assault on First Amendment free speech rights and would deprive Club members of important associational rights also guaranteed by the Constitution. Its provisions are completely unrelated to the issue of lobbying and are an attempt to circumvent Senate debate on this horrific attack on the First Amendment.
Since the House passage of H.R. 513, columnist George Will said the action was “traducing the Constitution and disgracing conservatism.” Forbes Magazine called that bill “McCain-Feingold on steroids” and said “the move is like banning printing presses because your opponents use them to publish brochures criticizing you.” The Rocky Mountain News called it “noxious legislation.” Earlier, National Review said “There’s nothing conservative about trying to regulate your opponent to defeat.”
The provisions from H.R. 513 go far beyond the reviled prohibitions on ads imposed by the so-called Bipartisan Campaign Reform Act (BCRA). This unprecedented provision would ban any such ads placed anywhere at any time in any kind of medium by a 527 group unless sponsored by a highly-regulated PAC.
Free speech is vital to a healthy debate on public policies, including policies that create economic growth. Our Congressional Scorecard for the 109th Congress provides a comprehensive rating of how well or how poorly each member of Congress supports pro-growth, free-market policies and will be distributed to our members and to the public.