Did the National Rifle Association Buy Congress?

Below are some excerpts from an interesting post at the Free Republic.

It’s often said that the NRA’s political influence stems from outspending gun control supporters. That’s a myth.

Open Secrets reports that the NRA spent a total of $128M on federal politics (campaign contributions, lobbying, and PACs). But NRA membership numbers get downplayed in order to sell readers on the mythology of a special interest cadre called the “gun lobby.” The NRA currently has 4.3M members.

While a substantial amount, the NRA’s total political spending doesn’t match one trial lawyers’ organization, as discussed below.

For example, billionaire George Soros’s Open Society Institute promotes firearms licensing and registration, two major goals of gun control advocates.

Billionaire Michael Bloomberg, leader of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, used the Tucson tragedy to promote new limitations on firearm sales and to reduce ammunition magazine capacity.

The American Bar Association (ABA) recently recommended federal and state laws requiring microstamping, requiring a permanent database of all gun owners (licensing) and linking their firearms by serial number (registration). Since 1998, the ABA spent over $15.2M on lobbying.

Since 1990, the American Association for Justice — formerly called the Association of Trial Lawyers of America — invested $131.6M in political spending, more than the NRA.

An earlier report examined how the law firm of Skadden, Arps, Meagher and Flom, LLP has a financial stake in promoting gun control, noting its significant campaign finance “investment” in anti-rights candidates. Skadden was Obama’s 14th biggest contributor in 2008.

Skadden’s $11.2M in political spending. Though a relatively modest sum, it’s 62% more than the entire firearms industry. The “per member” amounts are more compelling: With “over 2,000 attorneys,” Skadden spent about $1,170 per lawyer during the 2008 election cycle, compared to the NRA’s $4.61.

Since 1990, lawyers contributed nearly $1.1 billion on federal campaigns alone. Plus, they spent hundreds of millions more on lobbying and PAC-funded campaign contributions.

Unlike NRA PAC spending, which included expenses like postage and administrative salaries, the law lobby’s PAC money went to candidates’ campaign funds. For an apples-apples comparison, the NRA spent $8.5M of all PAC money on campaign contributions; law lobby PACs spent about nine times more. Overall, the law lobby spent about 10 times as much as the NRA and firearms industry together.

According to Joyce’s criteria that more political spending equals more influence, the law lobby wins.

This entire article along with charts can be found at: http://freerepublic.com/focus/f-bloggers/2668972/posts



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