The National Rifle Association’s lobbying machine is still potent despite financial woes that reduced its clout

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  • The National Rifle Association still has significant cash reserves to use on both lobbying efforts and on the campaign trail to influence gun policy debates.
  • While bankruptcy filings and internal turmoil have eroded the NRA’s clout, its impact is still looming large over former President Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas and other prominent GOP figures set to speak at their annual convention on Friday. .
  • Brewer, attorney and counselor, a law firm that has represented the NRA over the years and was paid more than $23 million in 2020 for its services, told CNBC that the gun lobbying group is planning to stop representing the group. He doesn’t have any plans.

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Despite the financial stress and internal turmoil that has eroded the group’s reach, the National Rifle Association has a bevy of cash at its disposal to influence gun policy debates after the latest shooting massacre of schoolchildren in Texas. Is.

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The NRA went ahead with its annual convention in Houston this week, when a gunman shot 19 children and two adults less than five hours away in Uvalde. Reflecting the group’s continued clout, former President Donald Trump, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, and other national GOP figures will move forward with plans to speak Friday afternoon at a forum hosted by the NRA’s lobbying arm.

Greg Abbott of Texas Gov. will not speak as planned, as he will return to Uvalde. Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick also stopped speaking at the NRA meeting, saying he would not want his presence to “bring any additional pain or suffering” to the families of the victims.

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Gun safety advocates, who have called for new restrictions in response to the mass shootings in Texas and Buffalo, New York this month — including President Joe Biden and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer — have repeatedly called for tightening firearms rules. Has renewed its criticism of the NRA for opposing the efforts. To try to stop the genocide across the country. While the power of the NRA has taken a hit in recent years, financial filings and lobbying disclosures suggest that the group still has the means to try to influence gun policy talks in the coming weeks – as well as the midterms. Elections that will decide which party controls Congress next year. ,

The NRA will likely descend into policy discussions as senators resume gun control talks and major midterm races across the country. Lawmakers are considering a wide range of gun measures. Proposals include a national “red flag” law that could allow police or family members to petition a court to order the temporary removal of firearms from a person deemed dangerous, and such measures. Which can strengthen gun background checks.

An NRA spokesperson did not return a request for comment.

According to records, the NRA’s 501(c)(4) organization, which can lobby by law, walked away in 2021 with a net worth of about $50 million. In the first quarter of this year, about a dozen NRA representatives, including the group’s CEO, Wayne LaPierre, engaged with the federal government over gun-related bills. The NRA spent more than $620,000 on lobbying during the quarter.

The organization made its highest-ever lobbying spend in a quarter of last year, just a few months after announced in January 2021 that it was filing for bankruptcy and planned to move its operations from New York to Texas, The NRA spent more than $2 million lobbying Congress and the Biden administration on gun reform bills during the second quarter of 2021, a disclosure report shows.

The gun group’s separate 501(c)(3) is called the NRA Foundation, which cannot lobby but organizes on topics including gun safety and marksmanship, according to that group’s Form 990, $140 in net assets. Entered 2021 with over a million. that of organization The sponsorship program allows supporters to donate money, and, if donors contribute $1,500 or more, they can receive a gun.

According to Federal Election Commission filings, the NRA’s Political Action Committee had more than $15 million on hand to go through in May. PAC last month gave nearly $70,000 to Republicans running for office in the 2022 midterm.

The NRA committee gave $4,000 to GOP candidates in Texas in April. Reps Dan Crenshaw, R-Texas, and Ronnie Jackson, R-Texas, each received $1,000 from the NRA’s PAC. Texas congressional candidates Wesley Hunt and Morgan Luttrell also received the same amount.

Representatives for those candidates did not respond to questions about whether their campaigns would continue to accept funding from the NRA.

As voters cast their votes in primary elections across the country, senators this week began talks on whether gun reform could pass through the chamber in a bipartisan vote.

A new political/morning consultation vote Widespread support for some gun policy changes Congress has considered in the past, taken a day after the Texas shootings. Nearly three-quarters of respondents, or 73%, said they strongly support background checks on all gun sales, while another 15% said they support the proposal to some degree.

More than half, or 53%, of those surveyed said they strongly support a ban on assault-style weapons. Another 14% said they support banning those firearms to some degree.

The NRA has said it opposes Expansion of Gun background check systems, and has often spoken out against measures such as a ban on assault weapons.

The group has spread its message widely in recent times. According to the social media giant’s ad library, Facebook ads for the NRA, which launched last week, are still active. One of the active NRA ads features a photo of Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris, with the message “Don’t let them take your guns.”

This leads viewers to an online petition to Congress, which reads, “I demand that Congress vote down every bill, every treaty, every resolution and every amendment that in any way violates my Second Amendment rights.” will do.”

While the more than five million-member NRA has played a major role in shaping the nation’s gun culture and policy for decades, internal turmoil has left it vulnerable.

The NRA Declares Bankruptcy After New York Attorney General Letitia James organization suing, the goal is to dissolve it completely. His office claimed that current and former executives, including Lapierre, used NRA funds for their personal gain, causing the group to lose more than $64 million over three years.

In March 2021, a federal judge NRA’s bid to seek bankruptcy protection rejectedAllows James’ trial to proceed.

a judge ruled march James’ trial this year not only shut down the NRA completely, but also allowed the litigation to continue.

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The group will receive the continued support of a leading advisor who helped it tide over recent financial and legal troubles. Brewer, Attorney and Counselor, a law firm that has long represented the NRA, has no plans to stop doing business with the gun lobbying group, it told CNBC.

Brewer, Attorneys and Counselors is one of the firms that has represented the NRA in a legal battle with James’s office. The NRA paid the firm a total of more than $40 million in 2019 and 2020, the most recent years for which 990 tax forms are publicly available.

The firm said in a statement that echoing the NRA’s repeated suggestion that mental illness leads to mass shootings more than the availability of firearms, that it is “the association, its leadership and the millions of law-abiding members of the community.” Will honor our commitments to you.” The statement was sent in an email by Travis Carter, a spokesman for the firm.

“It was an incomprehensible tragedy – the act of a deranged person. We offer our prayers and deepest condolences to the victims, their families and this entire community. We also involve others in providing security in our schools.” – to make them safe and secure,” the statement read.

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