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Who is NRA giving money to--and why?
* September 29th, 2010 11:16 am ET
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As we await the beginning of October and the promised revelation of candidate grades from NRA's Political Victory Fund, there is a way to determine who the association is supporting in a most important way--with that life's blood of politics, money. And while we've learned from the situation with Harry Reid that contributions don't necessarily equate with formal endorsements, a testimonial to the media and a hefty check don't exactly hurt, as this statement from Reid campaign manager Brandon Hall demonstrates:
"The NRA’s relationship with Sen. Reid has been long-standing and productive and – unlike for Sharron Angle – they’ve put their money where their mouth is this cycle. Along with their financial support, the declaration of NRA head Wayne LaPierre that Sen. Reid is 'a true champion of the Second Amendment' and that 'no one has been a stronger advocate for responsible gun ownership than him' shows beyond a doubt that the NRA believes Sen. Reid to be a strong advocate for Nevadans’ Second Amendment rights in the US Senate."
One gets the feeling if certain parties were winking any harder at each other, their faces might seize up.
So how can we figure out who else NRA is giving money to? I ask, because a New York Times analysis from Aug. 2009 told us:
The National Rifle Association is pouring money into the effort to oust Gov. Jon S. Corzine of New Jersey.
Yeah, we knew Corzine sucks on guns--but how was his opponent, Chris Christie any better? Click here to go to the New Jersey Coalition for Self Defense website to see a Christie campaign mailer that not only attacks his opponents' "radical plan to legalize assault weapons," but actually exploits the Violence Policy Center "confusion" about them, characterizing them as "automatic."
Here's where the "rules" come into play, where the indirect path from donor to beneficiary also provides a degree of plausible deniability:
The Republican Governors Association, which has spent nearly $3 million already in support of Christopher J. Christie, the former federal prosecutor who is challenging Mr. Corzine, has raised $90,000 from the National Rifle Association since December.
The Republican group says the rifle association donates about the same amount every year.
So they don't give directly to the anti-gunner--they give to a group that portions out the spoils, and that includes sending money we donate to anti-gunners?
As an aside, that reminds me of the old National Republican Senatorial Committee Gun Owners Task Force, that sent out solicitations to prospective "founding members" (and where they got their mailing list from is a good question I have no answer to) under the theme of protecting gun rights, but somehow neglected to explain exactly how donations would be routed exclusively to deserving recipients, as opposed to divvied up as the GOP saw fit.
So is there a way to figure out--now--who NRA--and others--are giving money to directly?
Everybody is aware of OpenSecrets.org, right? If you're interested in "guard[ing] with jealous attention the public liberty," you should be.
Here are NRA "2010 Cycle" contributions to federal recipients.
I haven't had time to get up to the elbows in this, but do note something that immediately stands out for me: I don't see either Ron Paul or Rand Paul on the recipient list. But I do see some names that don't don't stand out here or here.
My recommendation for political contributions is to cut out the middleman and give directly to candidates who have earned your support. Otherwise, there's no guaranteeing where your donation will end up.
More on gun-tracing mor...uh...mayors
It's Wednesday, so that means there will be a new Trigger Sports Live! show.
Host James B. Towle and I will be talking about Bloomberg's new gun tracing report at Noon PST.
Click here to join us.
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