National Governors Association (NGA) Backs National ID Card

Limited government advocates, who have made significant progress in fighting the implementation of a national identification (ID) card, were recently bushwhacked by the National Governors Association (NGA) when the organization began a stealth lobbying effort to push the measure.

Deep into the NGA’s website is a position statement on federalism that reads in part: “Pressures for uniformity and simplification come from globalization in trade and telecommunications policy, regional environmental quality solutions and a greater need for some type of personal identification mechanism (emphasis ours) to combat fraud, crime, illegal immigration and mismanagement of funds.”

Activists who have been fighting the national ID law since its passage in 1996 are particularly enraged over the timing of the NGA’s lobbying efforts. The push comes not only after the public has expressed vehement opposition to the scheme — but right on the heels of an act of Congress that implies even federal lawmakers want to take another look before it’s too late. In short; the people have spoken, Congress has spoken (and acted) — yet the NGA proceeds to use its powerful lobbying clout to shove an enormously unpopular mandate down the throats of the public.

To the further outrage of those fighting runaway government power, there was recently a shocking revelation that the NGA is working behind the scenes to use Bill Clinton’s Executive Order 13083 as a vehicle to implement a national ID. And there can be not a single doubt among any of the nation’s governors as to the unpopularity of EO 13083. That shameless power grab sought to completely reverse the meaning of the 10th Amendment by transferring virtually all power from the states to the federal government. The measure was suspended shortly after it was issued due to an enormous public backlash, although a similar order can be issued at any time.

Despite the NGA being quick to point to its initial condemnation of EO 13083, it glosses over the fact that it did so only because the organization wasn’t invited to help craft the language. The actions of the NGA has for quite some time demonstrated its clear intentions of helping to advance Bill Clinton’s left-wing agenda. Nowhere has that been made more evident than in the behind-the-scenes attempt to connect a national ID card with EO 13083 — and its assault on the public’s progress in killing the initiatives.

The liberal activism of the NGA is mostly a result of the unelected operatives who staff the organization. Most are former Democratic congressional staffers. Consider, the NGA has: supported the Workforce Development Partnership Act; come out against federal tax cuts so the states don’t see their handouts shrink; been against welfare legislation (and did its best to water down work requirements — even going so far as to suggest drug and alcohol counseling should count as work); lobbied to prevent a balanced budget amendment; and called on Congress to restore food stamps and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) to immigrants. And who foots the bill for all this? The taxpayers — to the tune of $8.1 million in 1997. Outside donations come from liberal foundations such as the Joyce, Casey, Kaiser, Mott and Carnegie Foundations.

It’s possible that many individual governors are unaware of just how hard the NGA staff steers the organization to the left. Furthermore, it’s actually likely that many governors are unaware of the unconscionable backdoor maneuvering aimed at stealing the victory citizens have made against a national ID — or the unscrupulous attempt to connect it to EO 13083. However, even if the governors do know of the NGA’s contemptuous assault on the will of the people, they’re politicians — and not prone to help fight the problem unless subjected to intense individual pressure from the public. Yet if only 25 – 30 governors could be made to lean on the NGA, the organization would be forced to halt its attack on our liberties through its push for a national ID. The question is: Are there any of America’s governors with the courage to buck the National Governors Association?

Tom DeWeese
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Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.