Friday, October 6, 2017

Follow the money: NRA funding shapes New Republican Agenda

An old Texas saying (I first heard from Molly Ivins) is “You Got to Dance with Them What Brung You”.

And as two new reports inform us, Congress dances with the biggest brunger of them all: The NRA.

New York Times: Thoughts and Prayers and NRA Funding (h/t Lise Hicks)

Most Americans support stronger gun laws — laws that would reduce deaths. But Republicans in Congress stand in the way. They fear alienating their primary voters and the National Rifle Association.

[The Times lists] the top 10 career recipients of N.R.A. funding – through donations or spending to benefit the candidate – among both current House and Senate members, along with their statements about the Las Vegas massacre. These representatives have a lot to say about it. All the while, they refuse to do anything to avoid the next massacre.

Here I provide the listing for the 1st ranked members of the Senate and House. All the others follow suit - accept NRA money, pray for victims, and then vote for for the gun lobby.

In the Senate, Arizona’s John McCain is first with respect to NRA donations: $7,740,521. He tweeted “Cindy & I are praying for the victims of the terrible #LasVegasShooting & their families.”

In the House, French Hill (Arkansas) collected $1,089,477 from the NRA putting him at the top. He said “Martha and I are praying for the families and victims of this senseless act of evil. […] We must continue to work together to stop this kind of terror.” (Scriber: Together, Bull Shmether. Congress has not worked at all to stop mass shootings.)

All [10 of] of these representatives are Republican. The highest ranked Democrat in the House is Sanford Bishop, who ranks 41st in career donations from the N.R.A. Among the top 100 House recipients, 95 are Republican. In the Senate, the top two Democrats are Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Patrick Leahy of Vermont, who rank 52nd and 53rd — behind every Republican but Dan Sullivan of Alaska.

This may not fit the legal definition of bribery, but in my book it’s pretty damn close.

Almost all the NRA money goes to Republicans. Remember this from yesterday’s post?

54-point gap
Guns are about the most divisive issue in America. A Pew Research Center poll found 22 percent of Democrats chose protecting gun ownership rights over limiting access to guns, compared to 76 percent of Republicans. That staggering 54-point gap makes abortion look like an issue with a minor divide, same-sex marriage look like a mild discussion point and marijuana legalization look essentially unanimous. [FiveThirtyEight]

When you arrange the numbers on a scale of gun ownership (76%) to limited access to guns (78%), the gap between parties is 154%. The gun lobby: See how much your representative gets. (h/t Jana Eaton)

Attention is being thrust back on the gun lobby as lawmakers give gun control measures a fresh look in the wake of the Las Vegas mass shooting – the deadliest in modern U.S. history. Gun rights groups overwhelmingly support GOP candidates, contributing $5.9 million into Republican campaigns in the 2016 election cycle, compared with $106,000 to those of Democrats. It’s also the most money gun lobbyists have given in a campaign year since at least 1990.

The Center for Responsive Politics, a nonpartisan think tank that tracks money in politics, found that in 2016 more than half of the members of the House of Representatives — or 232 of the 435 — received money from gun rights groups like the National Rifle Association and Gun Owners of America. That money went disproportionately to Republicans. Only nine Democrats received campaign contributions from these groups.

POLITICO tallied contributions to representatives in the 2016 election cycle. Some, like Ryan Zinke, no longer serve in Congress. Zinke now heads the Department of the Interior, but he received $79,000 in 2016, making him the recipient of the second-highest contributions, after Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan.

Arizona’s CD2 Representative, Martha McSally raked in the third highest amount, $77,063.

POLITICO also analyzed gun lobbyist contributions from 1990 to 2017 to better understand what these contributions look like over the span of a politician’s career. We totaled contributions spanning nearly three decades and found Republicans consistently benefited; whereas, Democrats did not.

Of the 27 representatives who each received more than $100,000 since 1990, all were Republican. …

The leader on this measure is Speaker Paul Ryan who took in a total of $336,597. Our own Martha McSally took in only $104,445 placing her at 25 out of 27.

But wait! Surely you noticed that Ryan has 18 years in the House and McSally has only two years. So, correcting for years in the House, Ryan drops to fifth place ($18,700 per year) while McSally rises to first place ($52,222 per year). Way to go, Martha.

I think Martha deserves a new slogan. I am woman. Watch me vote.

And here is where to watch what she does: Tracking Congress In The Age Of Trump.

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