Group Asks Probe of NRA’s Political Spending

June 11, 2015

The nation’s most influential pro-gun group is the subject of tax and campaign finance complaints over its federal election spending.

Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) has requested investigations of the National Rifle Association’s (NRA) political spending because the NRA filed federal campaign finance reports that showed it spent $33.5 million on political activity in federal elections between 2008 and 2013, but also filed annual tax reports during that period that claimed it did not make any political expenditures. The requests for investigations were filed with the U.S. Internal Revenue Service and the Federal Election Commission.

CREW also asked the FEC to audit the NRA because it alleges the group may have violated federal campaign finance law by failing to tell donors that their contributions would be used for political purposes; by soliciting donations from the general public; and by failing to disclose the employer and occupation of some of its contributors.

In Wisconsin, the NRA spent $3.6 million between 2008 and 2014 on independent expenditures to support Republican and conservative candidates for statewide offices and the legislature mostly with television and radio ads and mailings. About $3.5 million, or 96 percent, of the NRA’s election spending between 2008 and 2014 in Wisconsin was to support Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who is a possible 2016 GOP presidential candidate.

To view the group’s outside electioneering activities, how much it spent and the candidates it supported and opposed in elections between 2008 and 2014, please check out the Democracy Campaign’s NRA profiles – here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.

In addition to its outside spending on behalf of candidates, the NRA Political Victory Fund, which is the organization’s political action committee, made over $49,000 in direct contributions to candidates between 2008 and 2014.