Flooding the Swamp: Donald Trump And The NRA

“The NRA spent millions in a record effort to elect Donald Trump and now he’s paying them back by leveraging the White House to do their bidding. Trump’s not draining the swamp, he’s flooding it,” said American Bridge Vice President Shripal Shah.

NRA Spent Its Largest Amount Event To Elect Trump

NRA Spent $30.3 Million In Support Of Trump. “The NRA’s largest 2016 outlay was the $30.3 million it spent in support of Trump. […] The numbers account for independent expenditures—unrestricted money spent on ads and other media, independent of official campaigns.” [Opensecrets.org, 11/9/16]

NRA Spent $30.3 Million For Trump Compared To $12.5 Million For Romney In 2012. “But 2016 was a unique year for the organization, owing to the fact that many super PACs, like Karl Rove’s American Crossroads GPS, which spent roughly $115 million to elect Mitt Romney in 2012, declined to back Trump. The NRA stepped in to fill the void, putting at least $30.3 million on the line to help elect the real estate mogul, more than any other outside group — including the leading Trump super PAC, which spent $20.3 million. By comparison, the gun rights group deployed about $12.5 million to help Romney in 2012.” [Opensecrets.org, 11/9/16]

NRA Endorsed Trump Earlier Than Any Other Republican Presidential Candidate. “The close relationship between the NRA and Donald Trump began in May, when the organization endorsed the candidate earlier than it had ever endorsed a Republican presidential contender. Trump appeared before thousands of people at the NRA convention in Louisville, Kentucky, where he gleefully accepted the organization’s official support.” [Opensecrets.org, 11/9/16]

NRA Spent More Than Any Other Outside Group. “But the NRA’s investment, which was more than any other outside group, paid for a slew of ads that directly targeted the same voters who propelled Trump to victory. The organization’s radio and television spots sought to cast Hillary Clinton and the Democratic rivals of its preferred Senate candidates as an existential threat to the Second Amendment, and national security. It is a message that resonates in the gun belt, a swath of primarily Southern and Midwestern states where Trump achieved some of his most consequential victories.” [Opensecrets.org, 11/9/16]

October 2016: 1/20 Ads In Pennsylvania, 1/9 Ads In North Carolina, 1/8 Ads In Ohio Sponsored By The NRA.  “In October alone, according to the Center for Public Integrity, roughly one out of every 20 television ads in Pennsylvania was sponsored by the NRA. That same month, the group paid for one in nine ads in North Carolina, and one of every eight in Ohio. The ads imply that Clinton and Democrats would leave law-and-order abiding citizens defenseless.” [Opensecrets.org, 11/9/16]

Wayne LaPierre: Donald Trump “Has No More Powerful Ally Than The NRA.” According to the Washington Post, “As they speak, the words ‘agitation,’ ‘riots,’ ‘insurrection’ and ‘anarchy’ flash on the screen — followed by another text card: ‘We fight back.’ ‘Donald Trump will need every ounce of energy we can muster and he has no more powerful ally than the NRA,’ LaPierre says. Then comes a plug of LaPierre’s scheduled speech at CPAC on Friday. The NRA endorsed Trump in May, although Trump had not always been a fierce pro-gun advocate.” [Washington Post, 2/23/17]

Trump Used The Presidency To Thank The NRA For Their Money

Trump Nominated A Supreme Court Justice Backed By The NRA. According to New York Daily News, “President Trump on Wednesday rallied his conservative troops around his Supreme Court nominee, including National Rifle Association leader and spokesman Wayne LaPierre. Trump, in a White House meeting, put the face of the gun lobby group right next to his seat of power as the President urged his supporters to fight hard for Neil Gorsuch, his nominee to fill a vacant seat on the nation’s highest court. Although LaPierre was virtually silent during the recorded portion of the meeting, his mere presence spoke volumes about his growing influence, especially considering the seating arrangements.” [New York Daily News, 2/1/17]

Trump Signed An NRA-Backed Bill Repealing A Rule Aimed At Blocking Firearm Purchases For Some People With Mental Health Issues. According to the Wall Street Journal, “The president will also sign a bill that would repeal an Obama-era regulation aimed at blocking firearm purchases for some people with mental-health issues. The bill, supported by the National Rifle Association, would roll back a rule that requires the Social Security Administration to report those receiving disability benefits for mental-health conditions to the FBI’s background check system, which is used to determine eligibility for buying a gun.” [Wall Street Journal, 2/28/17]

Trump Administration Rescinded An Order That Banned Lead Ammunition In Various Hunting And Fishing Areas, A Move Applauded By The NRA. According to the Daily Beast, “Soon after the election, the Trump administration rescinded an order, issued in the waning days of the Obama administration, that banned lead ammunition in various hunting and fishing areas—the NRA immediately applauded the action.” [Daily Beast, 3/7/17]

Trump’s Agencies Narrowed The Definition Of “Fugitive,” A Change That Cuts The Number Of People Who Will Be Included In A Database To Keep Firearms From People Who Are Barred From Owning Them. According to McClatchy, “And in February, the Justice Department resolved a long-standing dispute between the FBI and the ATF about who should be called a fugitive – and be barred from buying a firearm. The ATF considers a fugitive to be anyone subject to an arrest warrant who crossed state lines to avoid arrest. The FBI had a broader definition, describing a fugitive as anyone who’d left the city or county where the warrant had been issued. In a Feb. 15 memorandum, the FBI agreed to adopt the narrower definition, saying a person must have fled the state to avoid imminent prosecution or court testimony to be considered a fugitive. The NRA did not weigh in on the issue.” [McClatchy, 4/13/17]