Do campaign contributions affect the likelihood that a member of congress has publicly spoken out after the Sandy Hook School shooting? The answer appears to be yes, and by a lot. Our review found that a representative who received significant campaign support from the NRA was more likely to keep his or her mouth shut about the shooting -- speaking out at 2/3s the rate of an average member of congress.Continue reading
In the world of firearm regulatory efforts, the National Rifle Association (NRA) has the loudest megaphone--and sometimes the only one.
The NRA was the sole organization to comment on a regulation issued by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF) in June that lifted a 90-day residency requirement for immigrants living in the U.S. who want to obtain firearms.
On August 30, the NRA/Institute for Legislative Action's office of legislative counsel wrote this letter--available on Sunlight's regulatory search tool in development, Docket Wrench--supporting the agency's decision to lift the requirement, which ...Continue reading
Just over half (51 percent) of the members of the new Congress that convenes next month have received funding from the National Rifle Association’s political action committee at some point in their political careers, an analysis by the Sunlight Foundation finds. And 47 percent received money from the NRA in the most recent race in which they ran. The numbers give insight into the depth and breadth of support that the nation’s most powerful gun lobby commands. They also highlight the primary obstacle to quick action on gun control in response to last week’s massacre in Newton, Conn. – deep and long-lasting allegiances to the National Rifle Association.Continue reading
In addition to spending heavily on elections and lobbying Congress, the gun lobby is also quite active in the rulemaking process, federal dockets show. The National Rifle Association, other pro-gun groups and their members weighing in frequently on federal regulation covering issues ranging from wildlife to concealed weapons to air travel. Gun control groups and advocates have also participated, although it appears less frequently.
This profile of NRA activity in federal regulations, from the Sunlight's Docket Wrench tool in development, shows efforts concentrated largely on hunting and other regulations administered by the Fish and Wldlife Service (FWS). However the ...Continue reading
The tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary has brought gun policy back to the forefront of our national conversation. As a nonpartisan, nonprofit Sunlight takes no stance on the issue, but we have put together a collection of resources looking at the legislation, policy and influence around gun rights and gun control, plus the groups and lawmakers involved. The Gun Lobby Sunlight Foundation Senior Fellow Lee Drutman reviews the political influence of the National Rifle Association and the leading gun control group, the Brady Campaign to End Gun Violence. Read his full analysis in this blog post. Lee notes that when it comes to the debate on gun policy, Congress is pretty much only hearing from one side. The NRA spends 66 times what the Brady Campaign spends on lobbying, and 4,143 times what the Brady Campaign spends on campaign contributions. Since 2011, the NRA spent at least $24.28 million: $16.83 million through its political action committee, plus $7.45 million through its affiliated Institute for Legislative Action. According to Influence Explorer records, the Brady Campaign spent $5,800 this election cycle and reported $60,000 in lobbying costs.Continue reading
In the wake of the tragic shooting in Newtown, one of the emerging debates is whether there will even be a debate. Past mass shootings have come and gone without any action. Many argue that the reason for this inaction is simple: politicians have been afraid to take on the National Rifle Association, the large and influential pro-gun lobby that spent at least $18.6 million this past election cycle - $11.1 million through its Political Victory Fund, plus $7.5 million through its affiliated Institute for Legislative Action. Here are the data: The NRA has spent 73 times what the leading pro-gun control advocacy organization, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, has spent on lobbying in the 112th Congress ($4.4 million to $60,000, through the second quarter of 2012), and 4,143 times what the Brady Campaign spent on the 2012 election ($24.28 million to $5,816). (One caveat on the data is that the NRA itself does a very poor job of accurately reporting its spending, and we must rely on its self-reports.)Continue reading
Some 24 states followed Florida in putting Stand Your Ground laws on their books, at least ten of which are... View ArticleContinue reading
Last May Rep. Dave Reichert, R-Wash., raised campaign cash at a reception at the offices of the National Association of Realtors and around the same time, the group's PAC sent his campaign a check for $4,000.
Four months later, in September, the PAC started spending big, but this time on independent expenditures. Three hundred thousand dollars for a campaign ad. Forty-six thousand dollars on Internet ads. By mid-October, the group had spent more than $576,000 in support of Reichert.
When groups make independent expenditures to support or oppose a candidacy, they are not supposed to coordinate in ...Continue reading
The Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United v. FEC case has rendered 24 states' election laws unconstitutional. The 5-4 ruling in favor of Citizens United reversed a provision of the McCain-Feingold act that prohibited any electioneering communication—defined as advertising via broadcast, cable or satellite that is paid for by corporations or labor unions. Many states have acted fast to counter corporations’ ability to spend unlimited amounts of money to influence elections by passing laws that force disclosure of all independent expenditures in near real time. The Sunlight Foundation Reporting Group has decided to report what each of ...Continue reading