Posts Tagged ‘politico’

K St. Drools Over Cantor

Thursday, June 12th, 2014 by Geoffrey Lyons

AFTER HOUSE MAJORITY leader Eric Cantor’s (R-Va.) unpredictable defeat Tuesday night, a predictable response: what’s next for the Virginian?

Perhaps the most eager to know are those willing to coax the lame duck into working for them.  His leadership position, writes the Hill, makes him an incredibly lucrative prize.  And depending on the results of this year’s midterm elections, his stock could rise in just a matter of months. The timing of his defeat combined with his length of service and rank within the Republican party are the chief ingredients that make Cantor even more magnetic than “Blue Dog” Democrats, a “popular breed” on K St. for their bipartisanship and amity towards business.

Whether Cantor’s staff will get a share of this fortune is less certain.  Some are arguing that their value will sink as a result of the defeat, while others are skeptical of this assessment.  Ivan Adler, a principal at The McCormick Group, told The Hill “being in leadership means you know the entire caucus; that’s something that’s really important. Those relationships don’t go away because your boss is not there.”  POLITICO’s stance appears to incorporate both views, noting that former Cantor staffers on K St.

are [all] lobbyists with extensive relationships all over town who will ultimately be fine without their Cantor connection on Capitol Hill. But Cantor’s exit – assuming he doesn’t mount a quixotic write-in campaign – shifts the center of gravity and talent on K Street significantly.

As for Cantor’s donors, a potential measure of his influence, POLITICO adds that it’s “futile” to list them “because it’s essentially a who’s who of Fortune 500 and major trade associations.”

Of course, these discussions tend to invite needless speculation, so it’s worth ending on two points of consensus: Eric Cantor has his pick of the crop, and whoever gets him will profit immensely.

McCutcheon’s Effect on Lobbyists

Monday, April 7th, 2014 by Geoffrey Lyons

WHATEVER ONE’S VIEWS on the Supreme Court’s ruling in McCutcehon v. FEC, there’s one incontrovertable fact: lobbyists will suffer.

According to CNN, “lobbyists fret that the ruling could mean they’ll be on the hook to hand over even more campaign cash to lawmakers.”

POLITICO added that these lobbyists “are already inundated by fundraising calls from lawmakers, email solicitations and events that fill their calendars for breakfasts, lunches and dinners in the run-up to the quarterly deadlines.”

The Hill called the decision “groan-inducing” for lobbyists, noting that the aggregate limits had until now acted as “a ready-made excuse for turning down fundraising appeals.”

Of course, not everyone is extending their pity.  Huffington Post blogger Jason Linkins bitterly remarked that these complaints teach only that “there is no greater disadvantage in life than having all the advantages.”

Yet virtually nobody is challenging the fact that lobbyists will be expected to pony up a larger share of their income in the years ahead.  Perhaps a collective reluctance will help minimize the damage.

Much Ado About SOTU

Thursday, January 30th, 2014 by James Cameron

MANY AMERICANS VIEW the State of the Union address as a lot of rhetoric and not much substance.  But for lobbyists and policymakers, what the president does (or doesn’t) say can make or break an issue.

As POLITICO notes, if Obama even briefly mentions an issue or a piece of legislation, it can make the difference between the issue gaining traction in Congress or wasting away. Further, if the President talks about something for which a lobbyist is advocating, it can generate massive credibility for both the lobbyist and his firm, even if they had no part in getting it mentioned in the speech.

Following this year’s speech, for example, LGBT groups were disappointed that Obama made no mention of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which would ban employers from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. Indeed, Obama barely touched on LGBT issues at all, making only a brief reference to marriage equality.  As the Huffington Post notes, this may be indicative of the administration’s view that it has enough political capital with the LGBT community that it can afford to ruffle some feathers.  The case nonetheless demonstrates both the impact of the SOTU as well as the delicate political maneuvering involved.

Likewise, the guests invited by members of Congress (each lawmaker is allowed one) can have legislative implications for the coming year.  Predictably, as PBS notes, more than a dozen Republican members brought business owners and individuals who were negatively impacted by the Affordable Care Act.  By the same token, Democrats brought guests who benefitted from the ACA.  Democrats (especially the Illinois delegation) also brought at least five immigration advocates.  Some lawmakers took a decidedly less conventional approach, though.  POLITICO reports that Rep. Vance McAllister (R-La.) brought Willie Robertson, star of “Duck Dynasty.”  This blogger wonders if Rep. McAllister will now get to appear on the show.

As with most things in Washington, the State of the Union comes with a side of rhetoric and political bluster.  Although every word of the State of the Union need not have far-reaching policy implications, it’s clear that for lobbyists, policymakers, and political forecasters, the Address can have a significant impact on the year to come.

Food Fight: Major Crop Associations Divided Over Farm Bill Subsidies

Thursday, December 5th, 2013 by James Cameron

ONE MIGHT ASSUME that agricultural associations would find common cause in the passage of a new farm bill.  But as POLITICO reports, the most prominent cash crop growers—including those growing corn, soybeans, rice, and cotton—are butting heads over their share of limited subsidies, and it’s putting the new bill in peril.

Part of the reason for this is that there’s far less money to go around than in previous farm bills, and lobbyists for each crop are at each other’s throats over the limited funds. Further, as The Hill reports, both Democrats and Republicans on the House Agriculture Committee insist on basing subsidies on what farmers actually plant, rather than on historical crop yields.

Also contributing to the fractious (and possibly self-defeating) relationship between commodity interest groups is the fact that there isn’t a trade association with enough power to unite the warring factions.  Bob Stallman, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation, said that AFBF will “do what it can to help close ranks on any remaining issues – for the good of the whole of American agriculture,” but so far growers remain divided.

The good news?  For one, as The Hill notes, the farm bill won’t automatically die if a deal isn’t reached by the end of the year.  This leaves open the possibility that a deal is struck before Christmas, with a vote coming in January.  Indeed, Congress is under pressure to pass a new farm bill by 2014, when current subsidies for milk would expire, causing dairy prices to rise.

A lot is at stake for both agricultural associations and Congress in the weeks leading up to Christmas.  A deal may get done eventually, but it’s clear that the rival associations aren’t doing themselves any favors by remaining at odds.  Many swords must be turned to plowshares before there’s reconciliation in the farming community.

For Their Eyes Only: CIA Lobbying Disclosures Under Wraps

Friday, September 20th, 2013 by James Cameron

WITH GOVERNMENT TRANSPARENCY very much in the spotlight in recent months, it’s no surprise that agencies’ lobbying disclosure is under scrutiny. As LobbyBlog wrote back in July, six different government agencies, including the NSA, FBI, and CIA, rebuffed requests for lobbying disclosure forms, instead advising POLITICO to file Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests, which can sometimes take years to be answered.

Now, POLITICO reports that the CIA is flatly refusing to disclose lobbying reports by its contractors. They do so on the grounds that the reports, the “existence or nonexistence” of which the agency would not confirm, may or may not contain classified information.

In addition to the standard lobbying disclosures that must be filed with the Senate or House, there is a supplemental form that must also be submitted by any company that has received money from the federal government. Despite the fact that this form is filed with the Office of Management and Budget, the OMB claims that it doesn’t collect information from the forms:

OMB does not collect information from the public through the SF-LLL; for details about the use of information collected with a specific form, OMB would refer you to the relevant agency issuing the form…

Of course, as the CIA makes clear, there is little accountability and no transparency for these agencies, and the only way to obtain lobbying disclosure information is through cumbersome and expensive FOIA requests. As Bill Allison of the Sunlight Foundation notes, “this is one of these strange things where the federal government has laws on the books that they don’t follow themselves….”

It would seem the only way to turn government opacity into transparency is through specific legislation prohibiting the loopholes and gray areas that federal agencies are using to hide lobbying disclosures. But even then, it’s likely that agencies will continue to flaunt the law. In other words, if you’re hoping to find out how money changes hands between contractors and the government, don’t hold your breath.

AIPAC Chimes in on Syria

Tuesday, September 10th, 2013 by James Cameron

THINGS HAVE HEATED up in Washington as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), the powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, has called on Congress to authorize military action against Syria.

In a statement last Tuesday, AIPAC wrote:

AIPAC urges Congress to grant the president the authority he has requested to protect America’s national security interests and dissuade the Syrian regime’s further use of unconventional weapons. The civilized world cannot tolerate the use of these barbaric weapons…

On Thursday, the lobby announced that it would be sending more than 250 leaders and activists to Capitol Hill to lobby as many members of Congress as possible on the issue, and in particular prominent GOP leaders who have yet to commit to action on Syria, such as Sens. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and John Cornyn (R-Texas).  The meetings are scheduled to occur today.

As POLITICO notes, it’s rare for AIPAC to be involved in military matters, and the organization has been very careful to avoid the use of the word “Israel” in its press releases.  This omission is likely because AIPAC and other pro-Israel groups do not want their support for intervention to appear self-serving.  Yet news that Israel itself now strongly advocates a strike against Assad diminishes any need to be circumspect.

It’s still too early to tell how effective these efforts will be, but it’s without question that AIPAC, which prides itself on its incomparable clout in Washington, will have an impact.

TracFone, Vitter Dial Up Obama Phone Fight

Thursday, July 25th, 2013 by James Cameron

TRACFONE, THE CELLPHONE company owned by Carlos Slim, the world’s richest man, is ramping up its lobbying efforts in the face of strong opposition, according to POLITICO. The Miami-based company is seeking to protect the Lifeline program (dubbed The Obama Phone by its critics), the goal of which is to distribute cellphones and Internet service to unemployed Americans so that they can find jobs, learn new skills, and draft résumés.

But TracFone is being criticized for its lobbying campaign to shift the program from disbursing Internet service to distributing smartphones, which would benefit the company’s bottom line.  Critics argue that the program merely provides free cellphones without the benefits promised by TracFone.  Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), one of Lifeline’s staunchest opponents, argues:

This phone program has expanded far beyond its original intent, and as so many middle class Americans struggle underneath this economy, it is really offensive for Washington to make taxpayers pay or free cellphones for others.

According to the FCC, however, the modern version of Lifeline is actually an expansion of a Reagan-era program that subsidizes phone service for the very poor so that they can contact the authorities in case of an emergency.  During the George W. Bush administration, the program was expanded to include cellphones, and in 2012 was reformed once again to incorporate a Broadband Adoption Pilot Program that provides Internet access to lifeline-eligible households.

Although TracFone and its detractors continue to fight over the nature of the program, for now it seems evident that Lifeline is more than just a source for government handouts.  Whether or not Slim and others can escape from the charge remains to be seen.

 

Hyatt Regency Ranked Best Hotel for Fly-ins

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 by Geoffrey Lyons

YESTERDAY’S POLITICAL INFLUENCE newsletter, published daily by POLITICO, featured the Association TRENDS Fly-in/Legislative Day Yearly (F.L.Y.) Guide, a ranking of D.C.’s most popular fly-in hotels.  Association TRENDS – which, like Lobbyists.info, is a division of Columbia Books – publishes the guide every year in its monthly, and discusses the results at an annual breakfast on fly-ins.

The value of ranking D.C. hotels rests on the premise that selecting the best available venue is the most important decision a planner can make when coordinating a fly-in.  As a matter of definition, you hgh height growth can’t have a fly-in without a hotel, so one must choose wisely.  This year’s all-around winner was Hyatt Regency, earning best overall, best meeting rooms, best logistics, and most knowledgeable of fly-in protocol (there’s a low bar here: most hotel staff don’t have a clue what ‘fly-in’ even means).  If location were its own category, the Regency would tie with The Liaison Capitol Hill, both of which are mere steps from the Capitol.

The full results, which were very graciously uploaded by POLITICO, can be viewed here.

The Hill is Pro-Business After All

Tuesday, June 11th, 2013 by Geoffrey Lyons

MOST HILL STAFFERS trust corporations, according to a new study by Lobbyists.info and The George Washington University.  The study, “Congressional Attitudes Toward American Economic Institutions,” found that roughly two thirds of Hill staffers think corporations are trustworthy.  Less than half say the same about organized labor, despite the fact that the sample leans slightly to the left.

According to POLITICO, this is enough to contradict the conventional perception that Washington is anti-business:

The poll comes amid rising complaints from the private sector that Capitol Hill doesn’t understand or appreciate business. In particular, corporations have pokie casino online been agitating loudly against the implementation of President Barack Obama’s health care law, saying it will raise prices and depress hiring.

Few of the 328  staffers polled could potentially be accused of an anti-business outlook, with only 3% opposing the idea that corporations are needed for economic growth, and less than 2% contradicting  the statement that businesses have “a positive impact on communities.”  On the other hand, over 13% think that corporations are not necessary for sustained economic growth, indicating a point at which staffers diverge on big business’s role in long term economic health.

Beer Industry Infighting Returns to Congress

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013 by Geoffrey Lyons

POLITICO AND THE HILL have recently reported on the Small Brewer Reinvestment and Expanding Workforce Act (Small BREW), and how it is becoming the focal point of an advocacy battle between big-name beers and their smaller counterparts. POLITICO notes that “the Craft Brewers Association sent 243 of its members to Capitol Hill this week to lobby [for the bill...]” which, according to OpenSecrets, the association’s leader (Bob Pease) is calling “the biggest-ever lobby day — setting up meetings for 250 brewery owners with 90 Senate and 250 House offices.”

The aim of Small BREW, which has just recently been revived after its introduction in 2011,  is to “amend the Internal Revenue Code of 1986 to provide for a reduced rate of excise tax on beer produced domestically by certain small producers.”  “If enacted,” according to the Hill:

…the Small BREW Act would cut the federal excise tax on beer from $7 a barrel to $3.50, which is placed on a small brewer’s first 60,000 barrels produced per year. After that initial 60,000 barrels, small brewers must pay $18 per barrel, which would be lowered to $16 under the bill.

The Beer Institute, whose members include corporate mammoths like Heineken USA, MillerCoors, Sierra Nevada Brewing Co., and Anheuser-Busch, is opposed to the bill on the grounds that it divides the industry.  It instead supports an alternative measure – the Brewer’s Employment and Excise Relief (BEER) Act – which would lower excise taxes on all brewers, not just the small ones.  But whereas The Beer Institute will “actively oppose” Small BREW, the Brewers Association supports both bills.  It just prefers its own.

POLITICO on Why K St. = (R) St.

Friday, March 22nd, 2013 by Geoffrey Lyons

THIS MORNING, POLITICO’S Anna Palmer and Elizabeth Titus published an article entitled “Why Republicans still run K Street.”  In about 1,400 words, they offer eleven possibilities:

  1. K St. bet red in 2012 – “Some companies bet that Republicans would take back the Senate and the White House in 2012, beginning the process of scooping up talent months ahead of the election.”
  2. K St. is plain bias – “’There seems to be a philosophical and political bias against Democrats,’ McCormick Group’s Ivan Adler said.”
  3. K St. bet red in 2012 AND K St. is plain bias – “The bias toward hiring Republicans was on display over the past two years when corporations and trade groups continued to bet on Romney and Republican chances of taking back the Senate when making hiring decisions and in choosing to retain their top GOP talent.”
  4. There’s a shortage of Dems – “There are also fewer Democrats coming off the Hill or out of the White House who want to pursue corporate lobbying.”
  5. Republicans = business (1 of 2) – “The business world tends to hire more Republicans, anyway, since their beliefs align more closely with those of corporate clients, and potential Republican hires tend to have more corporate experience or a proven record leading an association or in-house team.”
  6. Republicans = business (2 of 2) -”Former Rep. Billy Tauzin told POLITICO that Republicans may dominate downtown ‘because most associations are business groups, which have, generally speaking, a closer association with the Republican Party.’”
  7. Tom DeLay – “[AKA the] K Street Project, in which then-House Majority Leader Tom DeLay (R-Texas) helped lead an effort to install Republicans in many of the top trade associations.”
  8. K St. hires Dems, just not for No. 1 roles – “Many Democrats are hired instead to be the No. 2 lobbyist in the shop, giving associations and companies plenty of political cover on Capitol Hill.”
  9. K St. is dominated by Republican issues – “There are also many industries — such as oil, financial services and health care — that a significant number of Democrats are unwilling to represent.”
  10. Administration officials are loath to lobby – “Democrats leaving the Obama White House have also been more reluctant than previous administrations of either party to join the influence-peddling ranks.”
  11. Powerful friends happen to be Republican – “Veteran Republican Frank Fahrenkopf said personal relationships and the scope of each group’s work matter more than partisan affiliation.”

Lobbying at a Glance

Thursday, February 21st, 2013 by Geoffrey Lyons

FIRST IT WAS mid-sized banks (see previous post), now it’s credit unions. The latter have been lobbying against Dodd Frank reforms, arguing that they’re too harsh. “Credit unions are well-managed, well-run institutions that did not engage in the practices that led to the financial crisis,” said Fred Becker, [The National Association of Federal Credit Unions (NAFCU)] president and CEO. “Yet, the regulatory burden on our nation’s credit unions has reached epic proportions and that must be addressed immediately.” – The Hill

Associations are increasingly using Relationships, Advocability, and Political capital (RAP) indices to gain leverage on the Hill: “Here’s how it works: a trade association or advocacy group sends the RAP Index survey to their members by email. The software confirms their address, and finds a list of their local, state or federal elected officials. The survey asks members in-depth questions about any relationships with those officials and whether they’d be willing to be media surrogates.” – POLITICO

Nike is lobbying on behalf of the Trans-Pacific Partnership treaty (TPP), which was designed in part to remove tariffs between the U.S. and other countries along the Pacific Rim. The $67 billion shoe company would benefit from the elimination of duties on shoes made abroad: “But others are fighting to keep the tariffs in place. New Balance, the Boston-based athletic shoe maker, wants to maintain tariffs on shoes from Vietnam in order to protect the jobs of 1,350 New Balance workers who make footwear in the United States. A quarter of the shoes the company sells in North America are made in its U.S. manufacturing facilities.” – The Washington Post

The Keystone pipeline is still very much an issue, with thousands upon thousands gathering on the Mall Sunday to rally against its construction: “The rally, which was organized by the Sierra Club, 350.org and the Hip Hop Caucus, was billed as the largest climate rally in American history. Organizers estimated that about 35,000 people participated in the rally. The U.S. Park Police does not give crowd estimates.” – POLITICO

Some lobbyists continue to deploy opposition (“oppo”) researchers to disarm and discredit their foes: “Oppo researchers — who often have backgrounds in politics, government and law enforcement that may include the FBI or even the intelligence community — will also scan court documents, public records, campaign finance and lobbying disclosures and reach out to their contacts on Capitol Hill, K Street and in local communities.” – Roll Call

 

Lobbying at a Glance

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2013 by Geoffrey Lyons

AFFORDABLE CARE ACT regulations that would require retail food sellers to label the calorie content in their food are rousing lobbyists from every corner: “Some pizza companies have demanded more flexibility, grocery and convenience stores insist they should be left out of it altogether and movie theaters really don’t want to shout out how many calories are in those buckets of popcorn.” – POLITICO

Ex-Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) will become a lobbyist, the latest in a growing list of recently retired lawmakers migrating to K St.: “The former senator has been named CEO of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). He will be the group’s chief spokesman and primary advocate in Washington. NAIC is made up of state insurance regulators and helps coordinate their oversight across the country.” – The Hill

Ex-Senator Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) will become a lobbyist…again: “Like Democratic moderate Evan Bayh before him, Nelson is taking two K Street jobs. In addition to the NAIC, Nelson will be a ‘senior partner’ at public affairs firm Agenda.”  Tim Carney of the Washington Examiner adds: “Ben Nelson, as a Senator, provided crucial support for both [the Affordable Care Act and Dodd-Frank]….This is one reason moderates have the quickest track to K Street. Their economic vision is generally both pro-business and pro-government. Whatever effect this has on business and the economy, it makes lots of work for lobbyists.” – The Washington Examiner

Four years after his executive order banning lobbyist gifts to executive agency appointees and slowing the revolving door, the President’s “lobby posture” is attracting revivified scrutiny: “Most lobbyists have complained that Obama’s executive orders on the revolving door have kept out some of the savviest policy experts, who are registered lobbyists. Further, they say, by branding registered lobbyists, whose clients and fees are publicly disclosed, with what amounts to a scarlet letter “L,” Obama has increased the ranks of the unlobbyists, those who peddle influence but don’t register with Congress.” – Roll Call

Disclosure reports are in, revealing a lackluster year for lobby firms: “Few K Street firms were able to escape the downward pull, with even industry leaders Patton Boggs and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld reporting a drop in their lobbying revenue from 2011….Lobbyists across the board expressed high hopes for the year to come. A reelected and reinvigorated president and a Congress more willing to consider big legislative items should be the ticket to stronger growth, they said.” – The Hill

A $100 cap on lobbyist gifts in Georgia is stoking some interesting debate: “One argument supporting higher legislator pay ties into the gift issue: If lawmakers earned more, they “would be less likely to feel entitled to the free meals, booze, and tickets to concerts and football games” given by lobbyists.” – Smyrna-Vinings Patch

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.     

zp8497586rq