Follow The Money Said Deep Throat. And You Can Follow The NRA’s Money With This New Website.

There’s a new website in town called NRACONGRESS.COM and it’s one you should check out.  Based on data from the Center for Responsive Politics, along with some other resources, the site gives a dollar-and-cents breakdown for every penny the NRA has delivered to current members of Congress during their tenures in DC, along with their NRA rating and recent votes on key bills.

finance                What a surprise to learn that of the 241 Congressional members who have ever received any money at all from the NRA, 234 are Republicans.  But the 114th Congress counts 301 red members, which means that 60 Republicans in the House and Senate have never received any NRA money at all.  I find this somewhat puzzling because the Republicans hold a 4-seat majority in the Senate and a 30-seat margin in the House.  If all the Democrats supported a gun-control measure, they could get it to Obama’s desk if they only picked up half of the Republicans who don’t receive any dough from the NRA.  I thought that when it comes to gun issues, money buys votes.

On the other hand, maybe there are other reasons why the NRA wins more than it loses on Capitol Hill.  For example, the last several days have witnessed one heckuva political firestorm in the House chamber with the open rebellion of the Tea Party’s ‘liberty caucus’ which resulted not only in the resignation of Speaker John Boehner, but then the quick self-elimination of his supposed successor, Kevin McCarthy, who quit even before his candidacy was put to a vote.  You would think that the most conservative members of the House Republicans would benefit from NRA largesse, but only 25 of the 40 liberty caucus members have ever received NRA support, and their totals average about half of what other House and Senate members have received from the NRA. I can’t imagine that any of these ultra-right politicians vote against the NRA; yet 40% of them, according to the NRACONGRESS website, have never received a dime.

What the list of NRA recipients seems to show, more than anything else, is that what really counts in DC when it comes to picking up cash is seniority.  For example, the Number One NRA money hog is Rep. Don Young from Alaska, who has received $104,650, the only member with a tab in excess of 100 grand.  But Young has been sitting in the House since 1973, which means he has been re-elected 21 times.  And that works out to just under $5 grand each time the election rolls around.  Hell, they’re getting him cheap.  Ken Calvert, who represents the 42nd C.D. in California has been on the take to the tune of fifty big ones, but he’s rolled through 11 electoral contests which also works out to less than five grand each time. Hal Rogers from Kentucky has been re-elected 16 times, so the $59,200 that he’s bankrolled from the NRA looks like chump-change to me.

One thing that’s clear from the website is that, with a couple of exceptions, there’s no love lost between the Democratic Party and the NRA.  And while the total amount of cash that the NRA spreads around at the Federal level is peanuts when compared to what comes in from lobbies representing lawyers, bankers and insurance agents, the pro-gun money floating around Congress is ten times as much as what is spent by the other side.

But I’m not so sure that the imbalance between NRA versus GVP money means all that much when it comes to counting votes. A quick back-and-forth between NRACONGRESS.COM and the 2014 election results shows that of the 18 ‘swing’ House races won by Republicans, only 2 of those candidates received any money from the NRA. Which means the NRA was not a real player when it came to deciding the contests that moved the House from blue to red.  Is a national fundraising effort by the GVP community to re-establish a 2016 Democratic House majority within reach?

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