For years, the National Rifle Association has insisted that they are no more than a group of private citizens who support the Second Amendment’s guarantees of the right to bear arms. As many have suspected for some time, what they really are is an unregistered lobbyist organization. What’s more, they appear to be committing federal crimes in order to support candidates willing to back their political views in exchange for cash.
Mother Jones has uncovered proof of illegal coordination between the NRA and three separate GOP candidates for Senate’s campaign teams during the 2016 and 2018 elections.
‘The National Rifle Association appears to have illegally coordinated its political advertising with Republican candidates in at least three recent high-profile US Senate races, according to Federal Communications Commission records. In Senate races in Missouri and Montana in 2018 and North Carolina in 2016, the gun group’s advertising blitzes on behalf of GOP candidates Josh Hawley, Matt Rosendale, and Richard Burr were authorized by the very same media consultant that the candidates themselves used—an apparent violation of laws designed to prevent independent groups from synchronizing their efforts with political campaigns.’
Federal election laws make it illegal for independent groups like the NRA or their PAC to coordinate their advertising spending with any official election campaign – which they did, including tRump's campaign#NRATerroristOrganization#RIPNRA https://t.co/MKOPSDZ0Hd
— 🌊Sheryl Lynne ReSister #tRumpShutdown (@shossy2) January 11, 2019
The revelation follows news that the NRA also illegally coordinated with the 2016 Trump campaign to release paid ads on his behalf in his bid for the presidency. This practice is prohibited by federal law enforced by the Federal Elections Commission.
‘In December, the Trace and Mother Jones reported on a similar pattern of coordination between the NRA and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. In that case, Trump and the NRA hired affiliates of the same company—National Media Research, Planning and Placement—to direct their ad spending. Employees of that firm, operating under different corporate identities, placed ads for both Trump and the NRA on television stations across the country, with the apparent goal of reinforcing each other’s message.’
— Splinter (@splinter_news) January 11, 2019
While the NRA has the legal right to back a political candidate and spend their money on ads to support those candidates, coordination between a campaign and an outside group for advertising is a campaign finance violation because they are considered unreported in-kind campaign donations. Larry Noble, the general counsel of the FEC from 1987 to 2000, reviewed the proof offered by Mother Jones and said they seem to have uncovered a very serious crime.
‘All evidence points to coordination. It’s hard to understand how you’d have the same person authorizing placements for the NRA and the candidate and it not be coordination.’
The NRA, Trump, and Republican candidates in three key Senate races all used the same consultant to buy blitzes of campaign ads—likely violating federal law, according to regulatory experts https://t.co/nLPen6DQnE The latest from our joint @TeamTrace @MotherJones investigation
— Mark Follman (@markfollman) January 11, 2019
To carry out the crime undetected, the NRA used the same organization to coordinate their efforts, an organization known as Red Eagle Media. However, Red Eagle Media is a fake name for National Media, which the three senators and Donald Trump used to purchase and place their own campaign ads.
‘FCC records show that those ads were purchased on the NRA’s behalf by Red Eagle Media—which, according to corporate records, is just an “assumed or fictitious name” used by National Media. The order was signed on September 7, 2018, by National Media’s Jon Ferrell. His bio on the firm’s website touts his skill at ensuring “optimal financial stewardship of campaign media budgets,” as well as making sure “every penny allocated for media is spent according to election laws.”’
Trump: 'I did not commit a campaign violation' https://t.co/1qnRJniqYv
— POLITICO (@politico) January 7, 2019
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