Wed Feb 12, 2014, 12:42 PM
Scuba (40,333 posts)
How One Brown (University) Student Took Down the NRA
(Note to moderators: I'm posting this in GD because it's about campaign financing, not guns.)
This is a bit of a long read, but articulates the brilliant work of student Sam Bell who exposed the NRA's campaign financing crimes and arrogance in not even trying to hide them.
One morning last month, Rhode Islanders woke up to the news that the National Rifle Association had been charged with the second-largest campaign finance ethics violation in state history. In a settlement reached by the Rhode Island Board of Elections, the NRA admitted that it improperly funneled money from its national Political Action Committee (or “PAC”) to the Rhode Island-specific PAC, illegal under state law. The PAC was fined a historic $63,000.
Then he consulted the public records in the Board of Elections archive (the same source of BPR’s analysis) where Bell noticed the organization hadn’t reported a single donor in ten years. Such a practice is only legal if a donation is less than $100, known as “aggregate individual contributions.” Additionally, Bell said that the NRA’s federally filed expenditures matched dollar-for-dollar those of the NRA’s Rhode Island-specific PAC — again, every year dating back to 2002. Put another way: the NRA didn’t even attempt to hide what plainly appeared to be suspicious activity. Something was clearly up. And Bell was the first to have checked in over ten years.
What defense did the NRA use to bring the Board to their side on these latter two points? The NRA argued that its Rhode Island PAC was maintained and operated “within” the NRA’s national PACs finances. In other words, they shared the same bank account. Think about that for a second.
The spirit of the law — the idea of precluding national PACs from giving money to state PACs — is meant to create separation between national and state money, and to keep state organizations free of outside influence. In response to the allegation that it violated a law meant to keep national and state PACs separate, the NRA argued that the only reason its national and state PACs looked so similar was “only” because the two PACs shared an address, legal liaison and bank account — such that they became indistinguishable from one another. That was their defense.
2 replies, 818 views
Always highlight: 10 newest replies | Replies posted after I mark a forum
Replies to this discussion thread
How One Brown (University) Student Took Down the NRA (Original post)
|Dark n Stormy Knight||Feb 2014||#2|
Response to Scuba (Original post)
Wed Feb 12, 2014, 02:21 PM
BrotherIvan (3,733 posts)
1. This is an excellent idea, to bust all those winger pacs
I hope knowledgeable people will take them on because they are breaking rules left and right. Citizen activism at its finest.