Mike Castle (R [allegedly]-DE) has been so busy yukkin' it up with his Democrat stick buddies in the House that he forgot about an eeevil special interest group that he is going to need if he wants to beat Christine O'Donnell in Delaware's September 14 primary, let alone get elected to the US Senate in November; the NRA.
On June 17 Castle and his pal Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) published an op-ed lamenting the Citizens United decision from SCOTUS, and bloviating about what they meant to do about it. They complained about 100 years of established law having been usurped, and railed about the need to protect "the integrity of our political process" against all that evil big money being spent by corrupt special interests to get their hand-picked Politicians elected to office to do their bidding. (Note that they said nothing about that little first amendment thingy that SCOTUS relied on, in large part, to make their decision.)
They wringed their hands about transparency and the need for Congress to create a work-around hoping to minimize or undo the damage SCOTUS had caused...and touted the bill they had co-sponsored alongside political wizards such as Chuckie Schumer. The title of the bill IS rather catchy though; called the DISCLOSE Act, or "Democracy is Strengthened by Casting Light on Spending in Elections," this bill means to "prohibit foreign influence in Federal elections, to prohibit government contractors from making expenditures with respect to such elections, and to establish additional disclosure requirements with respect to spending in such elections." But somewhere along the way, Castle and his buddies realized the NRA would be negatively impacted so, at the NRA's request, they wrote in an exemption for them.
That's where Castle's troubles began...and five days after Castle's proselityzing, he appears to be losing his nerve.
According to The Hill, Castle "is considering withdrawing his support and voting against it." Politicians change their minds often enough I suppose but Castle's reasons for doing so now are chock full of pandering and political opportunism. In the original WaPo piece, Castle and VanHollen allude to certain exemptions (without naming names) calling them "narrow exemption[s] for certain reporting requirements for large, long-standing citizen-based organizations on the condition that they spend no corporate donations for campaign purposes." What they don't say (and it takes reading the Hill article to find out) is that it's the NRA which was first targeted in these so-called "narrow exemptions" and Castle is going to NEED the NRA if he is going to beat primary challenger Christine O'Donnell.
Apparently, Castle was fine with giving the NRA a pass, but once all the other big names wanted a piece of the action he got to thinking he ought to get out now...while the getting was good. There's a primary after all, and who wants to be on the wrong side of potential donors when there's so much money to be had? It's what career politicians DO, after all.
Castle's primary opponent, Christine O'Donnell, issued a statement on Castle's DISCLOSE nonsense, calling it more like a "Grassroots Gag Order":
This bill will ensure that only those willing to cut Backroom Deals will ever be able to play in the political process.
It’s being called the Castle-Van Hollen Bill, (HR 5175). I call it the Grassroots Gag Order! (Yes … this bill is named after my liberal Republican Primary opponent Mike Castle.)
Even worse … Chris Van Hollen admitted the bill is crafted to impact the 2010 mid-term elections!!!
Talk about dirty politics …
The so-called “Disclosure Act” limits corporate spending on political campaigns … but here’s the clincher … exempt from this bill are big-corporations and organizations with millions of members.
So who’s left? Only the citizen-activist groups fighting back against the Washington Elite and Lords of the Backroom, the same groups that have been so successful in booting out Career Politicians such as liberal Arlen Specter.
This is not a “Disclose” Act, this is a Power-player Protection Act, a Grassroots Gag-Order.
Only those willing to play according to the rules of the Backroom will be allowed to play this election-cycle?!!
The ultimate abuse of power … don’t let that happen. Don’t let our elected officials abuse the legislative process for their own political protection.
Enough is enough … it’s time to fight back. It’s time to replace Career Politicians with Citizen politicians.
The bill itself is nonsense, and a Republican supporting it (let alone co-sponsoring it) in an election cycle borders on the surreal. That Castle allowed exemptions, and then got cold feet about others being helped up on to the bandwagon makes it, and him, a joke.
[Note: Crossposted from The Minority Report]