Small Donors Help NRA Break 15-Year Fundraising Record

Chris Menahan
InformationLiberation
Apr. 24, 2018

The National Rifle Association's Political Victory Fund broke fundraising records in March with a haul of $2,352,095 in just one month.

In the same month, Everytown for Gun Safety's Political Action Fund raised only $13,580.

From McClatchy:
The National Rifle Association's Political Victory Fund raised $2.4 million from March 1 to March 31, the group's first full month of political fundraising since the nation's deadliest high school shooting on Valentine's Day, according to filings submitted to the Federal Elections Commission. The total is $1.5 million more than the organization raised during the same time period in 2017, when it took in $884,000 in donations, and $1.6 million more than it raised in February 2018.

The $2.4 million haul is the most money raised by the NRA's political arm in one month since June 2003, the last month when electronic federal records were readily available. It surpasses the $1.1 million and $1.5 million raised in January and February 2013, the two months after the Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.

Most of the donations, $1.9 million of the $2.4 million total, came from small donors who gave less than $200. The NRA doles out money to political campaigns from the victory fund, but most of its spending is on activity that isn't directly linked with a lawmakers' campaign where the group is not bound by state and federal campaign finance limits. For example, Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio received only $9,900 in direct contributions from the NRA during his 2016 U.S. Senate campaign, but his campaign benefited from $3.3 million in outside spending from the NRA to help him defeat Democratic Rep. Patrick Murphy.

[...]Gun control groups haven't been able to match the NRA's fundraising. Everytown for Gun Safety's Political Action Fund raised $13,580 in March while former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' Political Action Committee raised $129,589 in March. Two South Florida lawmakers have received donations from gun control groups this election cycle. Miami Republican Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who introduced a bill to ban bump stocks after the Las Vegas shooting, received $1,000, while Democratic state Rep. David Richardson, who is running for Congress to replace retiring Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, received $14,108 from gun control groups.
The NRA launched an initiative in April to sign up 100,000 new members in 100 days, the Free Beacon reported on April 16.

"The NRA's strength is in our dedicated and politically savvy members," NRA media relations manager Jason J. Brown told the Free Beacon. "Over the next 100 days we hope to welcome 100,000 new freedom-loving Americans to our ranks. The threat to our Second Amendment has never been greater."

"The enemies of freedom are well-organized and well-funded, and it's our responsibility to fight back," he said. "The Second Amendment needs you now more than ever. Please join the NRA Family today."

As the Free Beacon reported: "The gun-rights group has lowered their membership dues across membership levels in order to encourage new sign ups. The one-year membership has been lowered from $40 to $30, three-year from $100 to $85, five-year from $140 to $100, and lifetime from $1,500 to $1,000. The donations to the 501(c)(4) group are not tax deductible, but donors to the group do not have to be publicly disclosed."

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