RELEASE: Thad Cochran’s Real Record on Life and Guns

Tuesday, April 1st, 2014 and is filed under Elections, News, Press

Fort Worth, TX – The Madison Project PAC released the following statement in response to Senator Thad Cochran’s (R-MS) misleading TV ad portraying himself as 100% pro-life and pro-second amendment rights:

“Like every liberal Republican ashamed of his voting record, Senator Cochran is campaigning as a born-again conservative, instead of defending his record,” said Daniel Horowitz of the Madison Project.  “He obfuscates the fact that he helped sabotage the effort to defund Obamacare.  With regards to life, he is actually one of the few Republicans who has voted for an anti-life agenda on numerous occasions.  And with regards to guns, Cochran is hoping that the lack of votes on Second Amendment issues in recent years will erase his past history of voting to ban guns.  The voters of Mississippi deserve honesty from Cochran who should be defending his true record instead of obfuscating the truth.”

Here are the facts:


  • Voted for Medicaid funding for abortions [Roll Call #132, May 21, 1981]
  • Voted to table the amendment to bar the use of federal District of Columbia funds to pay for abortions, except to save the life of the mother [Roll Call #291, November 7, 1985]
  • Voted for federally funded research on embryonic stem cells [Roll Call #206, July 18, 2006 Roll Call #127, April 11, 2007]
  • Voted against straightening laws to circumvent taking minors across state lines for abortions without parental notification [Roll Call #71, March 13, 2008]


  • Voted for then-Senator Joe Biden’s massive gun control bill, which banned numerous firearms and created undue  burdens and waiting periods on purchasers [Roll Call #125, July 11. 1991]
  • Voted to impose background checks on private transfers and supersede numerous state laws with a sweeping federal mandate [RC #140, May 20, 1999]
    • Voted to prohibit the sale of all guns without Washington-approved safety devices [Roll Call #17, February 26, 2004]


  • Cochran claims that he voted to repeal Obamacare over 100 times, but he has always opposed the only consequential means of actually disrupting the law, which is by objecting to any budget that contains funding  [RC#206, Sept. 27, 2013; RC# 219, Oct. 16, 2013]

The Madison Project endorsed Chris McDaniel  (R-MS) against Senator Thad Cochran (R-MS). To view our endorsement click here.

The Madison Project supports and raises money for conservative candidates that have demonstrated a commitment to full-spectrum conservatism. The Madison Project website can be found at


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The NRA Protects Incumbents, not Second Amendment

Tuesday, March 25th, 2014 and is filed under Blog

Many conservatives have expressed shock at the NRA political action committee for endorsing two liberal Republican incumbents – Rep. Mike Simpson (ID-2) and Senator Thad Cochran (MS-Senate).  But to those who have followed the NRA over the years, this is just par for the course.

In 2010, I wrote a column at Red State exposing the fact that the NRA tried to keep Nancy Pelosi in power.  At the time, Republicans needed to pick up 26 seats to flip the House, yet the NRA endorsed 53 Democrat incumbents, most of whom resided in the very seats Republicans needed to win back the chamber.  Hence, if they had their way (and luckily, they were unsuccessful), Nancy Pelosi would still be speaker.

That’s some record of fighting for the Second Amendment.

This is not to say that the NRA as a broad organization doesn’t do any good work on a local level.  It’s just that their federal government relations team and their political action committee are dedicated to growing their power before defending gun rights.  If that means supporting bad legislation, obfuscating good legislation, or endorsing fake “pro-gun” Democrat and Republican incumbents, they won’t think twice before pulling the trigger.  In fact, they will specifically gravitate to races where liberal Republicans are being challenged by conservatives who will be stronger on the Second Amendment.

In Cochran’s case, he voted for then-Senator Joe Biden’s massive gun control bill, which banned numerous firearms and created undue  burdens and waiting periods on purchasers [Roll Call #125, July 11. 1991].  He also supported Barbara Boxer’s bill to prohibit the sale of all guns without Washington-approved safety devices [Roll Call #17, February 26, 2004].

Mike Simpson is the same sort of fair-weather friend to gun owners.  In 1999, he supported mandatory trigger locks for new handgun purchases despite the protests of his constituents. He also voted for mandatory background checks imposed on Idaho gun shows. [RC #244, June 18, 1999].  Take a look at this article from The Hill on June 2, 1999 after Simpson’s constituents protested his vote:

When word got out last week that Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho) supports the sale of trigger locks with handguns, fuming constituents deluged his four Idaho and Washington offices. “Well, they’re a little upset,” said Simpson, who spent much of his Memorial Day weekend explaining himself to constituents who grow fearful of anyone — particularly the federal government — coming near their guns. “They think it’s gun control,” he said. “They saw it as the camel’s nose under the tent. They expressed their concern that I’ve swallowed the line of the gun control advocates — that I’ve left the reservation, if you will… Simpson, who first voiced his views on the subject on a Boise radio show two weeks ago, said what he supports is not gun control, as people might think, but rather gun safety. His stance strays from the rest of the Idaho congressional delegation which vehemently opposes the mandatory sale of trigger locks with handguns. “I think it’s a commonsense move,” said Simpson. “I can separate the issue of gun control . . . from the issue of gun safety.”

Unfortunately, there have been very few votes on gun legislation in recent years, so these politicians have been able to use the element of time to heal the past wounds and create political amnesia.

Clearly, the NRA has its own agenda – one that is divorced from the community of gun owners in this country.  Conservatives will have to look elsewhere for guidance on issues pertaining to the Second Amendment.

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Mitch McConnell’s Inconsistent Record on Gun Rights

Tuesday, November 12th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Issues, News, Press

For Immediate Release:

 November 12, 2013



Mitch McConnell’s Inconsistent Record on Gun Rights


Fort Worth, TX – The Madison Project PAC released the following statement regarding the NRA’s endorsement of Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY):

“It’s sad to see the NRA continue their policy of reflexively endorsing the incumbent in any given race,” said Drew Ryun of the Madison Project.  “While Mitch McConnell would be a better choice for Second Amendment rights than Alison Lundergan Grimes, he is not the best choice in the race.  Mitch McConnell has shown himself to be a fair-weather friend of gun owners over the years and has refused to lead against Sen. Harry Reid’s anti-gun agenda this year as GOP Leader. If not for the leadership of conservatives like Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), the Senate would have passed a gun control bill this year.  If Senator McConnell wins the primary and no longer fears reprisal from conservatives, he will not be a reliable voice against the growing push to limit choices of guns and ammunition.”

Here is a sampling of some of McConnell’s shortcomings on gun rights issues:

  • Voted against Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) Amendment to block authority under Patriot Act to obtain gun records [RC #82, 5/26/11]
  • Voted for an amendment by Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA) prohibiting the sale or transfer of handguns by a licensed manufacturer, importer or dealer unless a secure gun storage or safety device is provided for each handgun. 25 Republicans and 2 Democrats voted against it. [RC #17, 02/26/04]
  • Voted for Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL) amendment to spend taxpayer funds for Department of Education grants used to disseminate a gun control agenda in schools and through public service announcements. [RC #32, 03/02/00]
  • Voted for Sen. Herb Kohl (D-WI) Amendment requiring that all guns be sold with trigger locks [RC#122, 5/18/99]
  • Voted for the 1991 Crime Bill (S. 1241), sponsored by then Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE), that imposed a waiting period for handguns and a ban on 14 types of assault style weapons. [RC #125, 07/11/91]
  • Senator McConnell cut a deal with the Democrats to allow all of Obama’s second term nominees to sail through the Senate.  Included in that deal was the confirmation of anti-gun zealot Todd Jones to serve as Director of the ATF.

“Matt Bevin will be a consistent voice for the Second Amendment,” continued Ryun. “He will oppose every effort of the left to infringe upon gun rights, including all procedural votes.  Bevin is a concealed-carry permit holder and understands the effects of Washington’s heavy-handed efforts to curb gun ownership instead of dealing with the root causes of violent crime.  That is why Gun Owners’ of America, the most effective voice for gun owners, endorsed Matt Bevin.”

The Madison Project supports and raises money for conservative candidates that have demonstrated a commitment to full-spectrum conservatism. The Madison Project website can be found at


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The Question Gun-Grabbers Cannot Answer

Wednesday, May 8th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, News

One of the most underappreciated sociological phenomenons of the past two decades is the precipitous, almost miraculous, drop in the level of crime nationwide.  Throughout the ’60s, ’70s and ’80s violent crime rose sharply.  We were beginning to wonder if living with such dangerous streets would be the new norm in America.  Yet, there has been a dramatic decline in crime over the past two decades.  According to the Bureau of Justice Statistic, violent crimes per 1,000 people nationally has declined from roughly 51 in 1994 to 15 in 2010.

Today, two new reports – one from BJS and one from Pew Research – show a parallel drop in gun-related homicides and non-fatal shootings, reports Fox News:

A study released Tuesday by the government’s Bureau of Justice Statistics found that gun-related homicides dropped from 18,253 in 1993 to 11,101 in 2011. That’s a 39 percent reduction.

Another report by the private Pew Research Center found a similar decline by looking at the rate of gun homicides, which compares the number of killings to the size of the country’s population. It found that the number of gun homicides per 100,000 people fell from 7 percent in 1993 to 3.6 percent in 2010, a drop of 49 percent.

Both reports also found the rate of non-fatal crimes involving guns was also down by around 70 percent over that period.

As we all know, this same time period has also coincided with the most ubiquitous liberalization of gun laws.  Now, there are a number of factors related to policing and the criminal justice system that have played a large role in this downward trend of violent crime.  But the question liberals cannot answer is this: if the problem is guns, not the criminals, how can the period of miraculous decline in crime coincide with such expansive proliferation of gun ownership and right to carry laws?

Taking Dead Aim at Joe Manchin’s Pathetic Voting Record

Monday, April 29th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Issues, News, Obamacare

Do you want to know the definition of pathetic?  It’s someone who aggressively brandishes his pro-gun credentials in a campaign commercial, and then proceeds to invest his time into expanding gun control laws.  In other words, Joe Manchin is pathetic.

Just how unpopular is Obama with the voters of West Virginia?  He lost all 55 counties last year in the general election, and 41% of Democrat primary voters to a man sitting in jail.  That’s why Joe Manchin lacks the moxie to air a commercial saying, “I’m Joe Manchin, and I approve this message because West Virginia needs a senator who will stand with Barack.”

Instead of manning up and letting his constituents know he is a gun-grabbing, Obamacare-supporting leftist, Joe Manchin ran a TV ad depicting himself shooting a rifle – taking “dead aim” – at a cap and trade bill.  Now he is working indefatigably to pass gun control, even after his bill was defeated.  During the gun debate, he also voted against an amendment that would have required a judicial ruling to determine if a veteran is dangerous before he is banned from buying guns.  I’m sure the many veterans in West Virginia would appreciate that.

What about Obamacare?

When running for Senate in 2010, Manchin said he would have voted against Obamacare.  He also claims to be pro-life.  Yet, not only did he vote against repealing Obamacare, he voted against denying Obamacare to illegal aliens!  He also voted against repealing the tax increases on catastrophic medical expenses.

It’s only a matter of time before Manchin comes out of the closet and evolves on cap and trade and gay marriage.

Perhaps the next time he is up for reelection, he ought to show a picture of himself standing with Obama and grabbing a gun away from a veteran.

How to Give Vulnerable Democrats Cover on Guns

Friday, April 12th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Issues, News

Yesterday, 16 Republicans voted along with the Democrats to break the filibuster against the Reid gun control bill (S.649).  Although Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn voted against it, they failed to whip against the vote, exerting no pressure on these wayward Republicans to put the brakes on this fast moving train wreck.  The end result is exactly what the Wall Street Journal editorial page advocated earlier this week: we will now have a debate on how much we are willing to limit the Second Amendment.

On Tuesday, the WSJ condescendingly chastised Senate conservatives for mounting a filibuster on the motion to proceed with debate.  They mockingly observed that “If conservatives want to prove their gun-control bona fides, the way to do it is to debate the merits and vote on the floor. They can always filibuster the final bill if they want to, but it makes no sense to paint themselves into a political box canyon before even knowing what they’re voting on.”

Moreover, they argued that by blocking debate on the bill, red state Democrats “don’t have to declare themselves on provisions that might be unpopular at home.”

Obviously, these novice observers of the legislative process have not been paying attention to the way the Senate has functioned in recent years.  The reason why Republicans need to filibuster even the motion to proceed on debate is precisely to leverage Reid into allowing a debate in the first place!  Reid has used a parliamentary procedure to “fill the amendment tree” and block all amendments that would embarrass his caucus.  To that end, the only recourse for Republicans is to filibuster the motion to proceed with debate, as a means of forcing him to allow amendments to go through.

Now that these Republicans, with the support of the dinosaur conservative intelligentsia, have handed over their one point of leverage, Harry Reid has once again taken full control of the amendment process in an effort to protect the vulnerable Democrats.  In fact, it is those 16 Republicans who afforded Reid the opportunity to hand out hall passes to Pryor and Begich yesterday to vote no on cloture.  They provided him with more than enough votes to break the filibuster without those two Democrats.  Now they can go home to their states (Arkansas and Alaska) and feign a more pro-gun posture than one-third of Republicans.

Now it will only get worse once “debate” commences next week.  Harry Reid knows that there is no chance of ever passing a sweeping gun banning bill.  He merely wants Republicans to break their consistency on the issue, and grant the overzealous ATF more power to begin stepping up gun stings and collecting more data.  Perforce, he will bring up Feinstein’s assault weapons ban knowing that it will never pass, only to offer Democrats like Kay Hagen (NC), Heidi Heitkamp (ND), Joe Donnelly (IN), Max Baucus (MT), and Claire McCaskill (MO) the opportunity to vote no and bolster their position at home.  They might also vote yes on some good Republican amendments with the knowledge that they won’t pass either.  This will give them the requisite cover to vote for the part of the bill Reid thinks will actually pass.

Enter Schumer’s Toomey-Manchin amendment.  Although it contains dangerous healthcare privacy concerns, statist regulations on transporting guns across state lines, and allows the ATF to collect more data from background checks, it doesn’t overtly ban guns.  All those vulnerable red-state Democrats will have enough cover to support it because they will vote the right way on all the straw men votes.

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16 Republicans Give Cover to Dems on Gun Bill

Thursday, April 11th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Issues, News

Moments ago, 16 Republicans joined with Democrats to vote for cloture on the biggest gun grabbing bill since 1994.  In doing so, they gave cover to Senators Pryor (AR) and Begich (AK), allowing them to vote no, while still granting Harry Reid the votes needed to break the filibuster. The names of the traitors are Sens. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire, Richard M. Burr of North Carolina, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia, Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Susan Collins of Maine, Bob Corker of Tennessee, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Dean Heller of Nevada, John Hoeven of North Dakota, Johnny Isakson of Georgia, Mark S. Kirk of Illinois, John McCain of Arizona, Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania and Roger Wicker of Mississippi.

They will contend that they are merely allowing debate to proceed and will not vote for a bad bill in the end.  The problem is that once cloture is invoked, Reid will cut a deal to move some sort of compromise, such as the Toomey-Manchin expanded background check deal, which will undoubtedly garner enough support to win passage.

Although Mitch McConnell personally voted no, he failed to enforce party discipline by whipping up the vote.  This is exactly why we must change the leadership and the members of the GOP Senate Conference.

Taxes, Guns, and Chuck Schumer as GOP Leader

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Issues, News, Taxes

Until recently, taxes and guns were the two issues that served as the glue to bind together Republicans of all stripes.  They were the two issues that even feckless elected-Republicans could be counted on to hold the line and stand with conservatives.  But over the past few years, Obama and the Democrats have gotten Republicans to break their impervious opposition to tax increases by supporting “increased revenue” and closing “loopholes.”  Now they are doing the same thing with guns.

Democrats know that they have lost the policy debate on these two issues over the past two decades.  That’s why they will never directly push for sweeping tax hikes on everyone (at least not in a way people will notice) or for complete confiscation of guns.  Instead they are trying to cut around the edges in order to get Republicans on record as supporting some new “revenue increase” or a new gun law, in the hopes of reopening the door on those two issues for future concessions.

On the tax front, they have gotten many prominent Republicans to agree to the premise of closing “loopholes” for those who already pay 40% of the income tax (even after those  so-called loopholes are factored in).  They also got them to sign onto the Biden/McConnell tax increases.  The irony about these tax hikes is that in order to win the messaging war with Republicans, they must target only the very rich.  However, by only targeting the rich, the amount of revenue they raise is so insignificant that it defeats the original purpose of the tax hikes.

Or does it?

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A Number of Republicans Cave on Filibuster

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Issues

As we’ve noted before, Republicans only need 41 votes to stop any bad piece of legislation.  Unfortunately, seven Republicans have already expressed opposition to a filibuster against the Reid gun control bill: John McCain (Ariz.), Lindsey Graham (S.C.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), Kelly Ayotte (N.H.) and Susan Collins (Maine).  This will allow the bill to get rolling and debate to commence.

We’ve learned from past experience that once bills proceed to debate, Republicans usually cut a deal with Democrats in the end and either agree to pass the bill or to lower the threshold for passage down to 51 from 60, thereby ensuring passage of the bill.  This bill will be no different.  Please read more about our concerns with the bill here.

Harry Reid plans to vote on cloture this Thursday.  Please call those 7 Republicans and tell them that when the Bill of Rights reads “shall not be infringed” with regards to the Second Amendment, it means exactly that.

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In Which Senator Isakson Makes Himself Irrelevant

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013 and is filed under Blog, Issues

How could a casual observer of the Senate know that Johnny Isakson (GA) is not up for reelection this cycle?  When he makes comments like this regarding the Reid gun control bill:

“We have not seen the final draft of the legislation that was produced, I understand, last night, but I think it deserves a vote up-or-down.”

Yup, he is not up for reelection until 2016, and there’s no potential challenger on the horizon.  Those members who feel the heat on their right flank this cycle, on the other hand, are obviously taking a more rational approach to protecting our Constitution.

The dynamic of the Senate is real simple.  There are 55 Democrats in the Senate.  Every one of them has no regard for the Constitution, including the Second Amendment.   That’s why Joe Manchin, the supposed gun champion on the Democrat side, has been working night and day to find a politically safe means of passing a gun control bill.  As such, any “up-or-down” vote on a Democrat bill on guns (or anything else, for that matter) will automatically pass.

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