The hits keep coming for the National Rifle Association (NRA), the seemingly ever-present “gun rights” organization that’s long backed the American right wing. An organization on the exact opposite side of the spectrum known as Giffords has now hit the Federal Election Commission (FEC) with a lawsuit alleging it’s so far allowed massive campaign finance law violations by the NRA to go unchecked. The suit cites the FEC’s failure to act in the face of prior complaints from Giffords and the Campaign Legal Center (CLC), a watchdog organization.
In short, the alleged violations constitute the NRA having used shell corporations to get around the legal limits for contributions to political candidates, including but not limited to President Donald Trump. The organizations behind the complaint culminating in the new lawsuit outline a scheme in which the NRA poured money into those shell companies that in reality, were not functionally distinguishable from interests serving the ad needs of the Trump campaign. Under such a set-up, the NRA was able to pour tens of millions of dollars into the apparatus pushing Trump towards election to the point of reaching over 9,200 times the legal limit for corporate contributions in that case alone. The NRA is alleged to have similarly illegally assisted candidates including Republican Sens. Josh Hawley (Mo.), Ron Johnson (Wis.), Thom Tillis (N.C.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), Tom Cotton (R-Ark.), and Matt Rosendale, a failed GOP candidate for U.S. Senate in Montana.
Federal authorities have already proven their readiness to prosecute campaign finance law violations in connection to the 2016 election cycle. That’s part of what former longtime Trump lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen will soon be reporting for a three-year jail term over. He assisted in an illegal hush money scheme to silence women his boss had affairs with in an effort to boost the Trump presidential campaign. Federal prosecutors in New York weren’t sorry they “had” to put Cohen away — at his sentencing hearing, they slammed him for being part of violating the public trust alongside, it’s worth noting, President Donald Trump himself, who participated in the scheme himself. The new lawsuit from Giffords and the CLC was filed in U.S. District Court in D.C.
The NRA, unsurprisingly, has claimed that their actions were legal and there was no improper coordination constituting illegal, under the table donations. Spokeswoman Jennifer Baker insisted:
‘We scrupulously follow the law. This latest effort by Giffords and the Campaign Legal Center is a frivolous lawsuit based on a frivolous complaint.’
Giffords, it’s worth noting, is the anti-gun violence organization founded by former Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords in the wake of her shooting at a 2011 event. Her husband, former astronaut Mark Kelly, has announced a bid for U.S. Senate in Arizona, where there will be a special election in 2020 to finish the last two years of the late John McCain’s final term.
The NRA, meanwhile, has maintained its allegiance to interests and figures like Trump for some time — but it could be on the way out, or at least down.
The organization has been reported to be struggling financially, and was even outspent by gun control-oriented groups in connection to the 2018 elections. They’ve even been swept into federal inquiries into Russian meddling in the United States, having associated with figures including now-revealed Russian spy Maria Butina.
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