Posts Tagged ‘NRA’

Lobbying at a Glance

Tuesday, January 8th, 2013 by Geoffrey Lyons

FRANK FAHRENKOPF, former chairman of the RNC from ’83-’89, is stepping down as head of the American Gaming Association (AGA). The AGA spent $4.2 million on lobbying in 2011-2012 (Center for Reponsive Politics). “Competition for the prestigious AGA job is likely to be intense. Fahrenkopf earned more than $1.9 million in compensation in 2010, according to the AGA’s tax form for that year, making it one of the highest-paying lobby jobs in Washington.” – The Hill

Former Rep. Steve LaTourette (R-Ohio), who served in Congress from ’95-’03, announced that he will become a lobbyist: “LaTourette and his wife will open a Washington, D.C.-based government affairs subsidiary of McDonald Hopkins LLC, a large Cleveland, Ohio law firm. Jennifer LaTourette, a lobbyist with Van Scoyoc and Associates who has represented the Airports Council International, will join him in the new office overlooking Capitol Hill, according to a press release.” – Roll Call

Sandy Hook has apparently elicited a tectonic shift in the advocacy community: “The classic lobbying nemeses over gun laws have been the National Rifle Association and the Washington gun control group, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. But the Newtown tragedy is prompting some locally based advocacy groups that have previously been silent on gun control to consider stepping in.” – The Washington Post

In the same vein, former Rep. Gabby Giffords (D-Ariz.) and her husband, Mark Kelly, launched an online anti-gun violence campaign called Americans for Responsible Solutions: “The website launch is accompanied by an op-ed in USA Today, coming on the two-year anniversary of the shooting attack that killed six and wounded another 12 people on Jan. 8, 2011″ – Politico

According to new research, lobbyists should think twice about boosting their ego: “A growing body of research, including new studies by Berkeley’s Juliana Breines and Serena Chen, suggest that self-compassion, rather than self-esteem, may be the key to unlocking your true potential for greatness.” – Harvard Business Review


What to Expect from the Gun Lobbies

Tuesday, December 18th, 2012 by Geoffrey Lyons

AS A SWELLING chorus of voices rises in support of stricter gun laws, it’s helpful to know what it’s up against.  The pro-gun lobby in Washington has spent over $15 million in lobbying expenditures since 2010, which dwarfs the anti-gun lobby by a degree of 22.  In other words, the pro-gun lobby is 2200% the strength of the anti-gun lobby, and can spit out 66-years-worth of anti-gun lobby expenditures in just three years.  (These terms, pro-gun and anti-gun, are used for brevity’s sake and should not betray any bias on the part of your humble blogger).

But better predictors of how vigorously these lobbies will spend in the wake of last week’s tragedy are in the numbers from 1999 and 2007, the years of the Columbine and Virginia Tech shootings respectively.  In 1999, the pro-gun lobby spent just over $8 million (in current dollars), which is about 150% the amount it spent in 2010.  In the same year, the anti-gun lobby spent roughly $1.2 milli

on, which is over 400% its 2010 number.

In 2007, however, the pro-gun lobby spent only (if that’s the word) $4.4 million, while the anti-gun lobby put in $217,405: both well under 2010 expenditures.  The difference in spending between the two years can be rooted in a variety of factors – Columbine arguably kindled a more vehement public response than Virginia Tech; Republicans controlled Congress in ’99 whereas Democrats had it in ’07 – none free from the charge of speculation.

There thus remain only two unequivocal patterns that can be expected to persist: the pro-gun lobby’s consistent outspending of its rival, and the NRA’s inordinate contribution to this phenomenon.  Besides this, anything can happen.

Data are from the Center for Responsive Politics and the much-needed guidance of a four-function calculator.  See also POLITICO's recent assessment of the gun-rights lobby.     


Failure to DISCLOSE

Monday, August 9th, 2010 by Vbhotla

The Democrats’ signature campaign finance bill failed in the Senate on a cloture vote on July 27. After a contentious road to final passage in the House on July 24, the act needed a supermajority of 60 affirmative votes to invoke cloture, leading to passage, but was only able to gain 57 votes.

The vote broke down on party lines, with no Republicans crossing the aisle, Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) absent, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), voting no in order to preserve the majority’s right of cloture. The Act provoked strong reactions – supporters hyped the bill’s ability to “overturn” the Supreme Court’s Citizens United campaign finance decision, while opponents decried the legislation’s stifling of First Amendment political speech rights.

To pass the contentious legislation in the House earlier this summer, Democrats created an exemption that allowed a few large advocacy nonprofits to bypass the bill’s disclosure requirements. In order to qualify, the groups had to have at least 500,000 members, among other things; qualifying groups included the National Rifle Association (for which the “carve out” was patched together), AARP and Sierra Club.

Sierra spokesman David Willett said that despite falling under the exemption, the organization is against the bill. “We opposed the idea of a two-tier system. The irony is, the bigger groups like NRA and Sierra Club have the resources to … handle the additional disclosure requirements” found in the bill, he said. “We just feel the rule should apply to everybody, so we remained opposed. [The exemption] is not in line with the spirit and goals of the bill.”

When the bill was first introduced, the NRA stated its opposition and announced its intention fight vigorously for its First Amendment rights. Shortly after the organization’s stance on the bill became known, House Democrats crafted the initial exemption. When the exemption became public, the outcry caused Democrats to revise the original language to include other qualifiers, widening slightly the applicable-organization pool.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NM) vowed to continue the push on the DISCLOSE Act; however, with lawmakers leaving DC for August recess, new action is delayed until at least September.


Monday, June 21st, 2010 by Vbhotla

The DISCLOSE Act has encountered some difficulties navigating through the world of lobbying. Democrats, who have been pushing the legislation as a fix to January’s Citizen’s United Supreme Court decision on campaign finance, have amended their bill several times in the past weeks – leading to grumbles about the manner of passing the bill, and one postponement of the floor vote.

The National Rifle Association has successfully defended their desire to see a disclosure exemption for large organizations with a specific budget, number of members, and number of chapters. The problem for several advocacy groups which previously supported the bill seems to be that the exemption really only covers one organization – the NRA. This leads to charges of buddying up with the very special interest groups whom the bill purports to police.

Most legislators have not expressed a problem with the way the bill stands now – with the controversial NRA exemption. But it could be a problem for Speaker Pelosi’s attempt to pass the bill before July 4; and on Thursday, the floor vote on the legislation was pushed back a week.

Some public interest groups have expressed disappointment with some provisions of the bill but recognize that the overall legislative package helps to accomplish their stated desire for more accountability and disclosure.

A Politico story with full background is here.