NRA Political Spending Highlights Troubling Consequences of Special Interest Influence

Washington, D.C.--The National Rifle Association (NRA) and its committees have donated $125,000 to the Florida Republican Party from 2004 to 2010, raising troubling questions into the creation of the state’s controversial “Stand Your Ground” law that may let the man who murdered Trayvon Martin go free.

News reports have identified the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – a corporate-funded policy group which drafts model legislation for conservative lawmakers – as the initial drafter of the Florida law. The NRA is a dues paying member of ALEC, which touts its success in passing laws around the country in state legislatures. Both groups have close ties to politicians across the country.

“In this day and age, the cold, hard, truth is that laws in America aren't passed because they're a good idea or because they're just. Laws are passed because they've got powerful backers, like ALEC and the NRA, and because lawmakers and political parties are paid to pass them,” said David Donnelly, executive director of Public Campaign Action Fund.

Donnelly continued: “The 99 percent of us who can't afford to make large contributions ultimately pay the price. We pay it in higher gas prices, in job loss due to unfair trade deals, in higher tax rates on us than on the largest corporations. And we're learning that we even may pay for it in the lives of our children.

While the $125,000 to Florida Republicans is the largest amount any state party committee has received from the organization, Florida state politicians aren’t the only ones who have benefitted from NRA money. In fact, NRA, its political committees, and employees have given nearly $2.8 million to state political candidates and committees from 2003 to 2010. In 2010, the NRA spent a combined $22.3 million at the federal level through their PAC and independent expenditures, according to the Center for Responsive Politics. At both the state and federal levels, these numbers likely don’t take into account all of the NRA’s influence and they have likely spent tens of millions more in other ways that do not have to be disclosed.

“We need a political system that listens to families like Trayvon Martin’s and not the wealthy special interests,” said Donnelly.

A full account of NRA’s political spending in the states is available on the National Institute’s website.

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Public Campaign Action Fund works to raise the voices of everyday people in our political process and holds politicians who are against comprehensive campaign finance reform accountable for where they get their political donations. Learn more at www.campaignmoney.org.

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