TPM - NRA Spent Big To Help Senate Judiciary Republicans
The National Rifle Association’s executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, spoke Wednesday at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun safety. There, he came face to face with a number of Republican Senators who have benefited from his organization’s spending in recent years.
According to Public Campaign, a non-profit supporting campaign finance reform and public campaign finance, the Republicans on the committee have in recent years benefited from at least $700,000 in various forms from the NRA, the NRA’s PAC, or the organization’s employees.
Public Campaign put together its numbers with help from data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics and the Sunlight Foundation’s Influence Explorer. According to the group, since 1998, the NRA’s PAC or NRA employees have given at least $120,000 to Republican members of the committee and their leadership PACs. More recently, since 2008, Republican members of the committee have been aided by over $587,000 in independent expenditures.
The biggest recipient of the NRA’s money is one of the committee’s newest members: freshman Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), who got a $344,742 boost in independent expenditures from the NRA during his race against former U.S. Surgeon General Richard Carmona. According to Public Campaign’s figures, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) has received $136,639 from the NRA, and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA), the Judiciary Committee’s ranking member, has received $78,526. Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy (D-VT) is the only Democrat on the committee who has received an NRA donation. Leahy’s Green Mountain PAC has received $7,000.