How Much Did the NRA Pay to Buy Off the GOP?
May 26, 2022
Just 72 hours after 21 people – including 19 children – were killed in a mass shooting in Uvalde, Ted Cruz, Kristi Noem, and Donald Trump are scheduled to headline the NRA convention in Houston. But why should anyone be surprised that Cruz, Noem, and Trump are still planning to attend, when the NRA has spent millions of dollars to help get them elected and pursue an extreme, pro-gun agenda?
In the nearly 10 years since the Sandy Hook shooting, the NRA has spent more than $100 million to help elect Republicans who will support their extreme agenda, including Donald Trump.
Fortune: “For instance, in 2020, the NRA alone spent over $12 million campaigning against Biden and another $4.5 million in favor of Donald Trump.”
Yahoo News: “The gun-rights group spent $54 million during the 2016 election cycle, including $30 million to help Donald Trump get elected president.”
Donald Trump caved to the NRA in the wake of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, and backed off of promises to take action.
New York Times: “Conceding to N.R.A., Trump Abandons Brief Gun Control Promise”
New York Magazine: “President Trump met with survivors of the Parkland school shooting and attempted to convey a sincere intention to act …What happened next was predictable. Trump met with the head of the NRA. He stopped talking about the issue he was going to solve.”
Reuters: “Under pressure from gun rights groups, President Donald Trump backed away on Monday from raising the minimum age for gun purchases from 18 to 21, one of several measures he had supported after the latest U.S. school shooting.”
Donald Trump spent four years in office pandering to the NRA, parroting their talking points, and proudly praising the gun lobby – even after the Parkland shooting in 2018.
New York Magazine: “After Taunting Republicans for Being Afraid of NRA, Trump Gives In to NRA”
Los Angeles Times: “Trump Consults NRA And Congress As He Ponders Gun Policy”
Politico: “A few hours after hailing leaders at the National Rifle Association as ‘Great American Patriots,’ President Donald Trump borrowed frequent talking points from the gun lobby group during a discussion on school safety Thursday.”
Donald Trump in February 2018: “And there’s no bigger fan of the Second Amendment than me, and there’s no bigger fan of the NRA. And these guys are great patriots. They’re great people.”
The NRA and others in the gun lobby have poured hundreds of thousands of dollars into Ted Cruz’s campaign coffers, making Cruz the biggest recipient of gun lobby spending from 1989-2020.
Fortune: “That said, Texas Senator Ted Cruz has been the biggest beneficiary of those groups when it comes to campaign spending. A separate study by OpenSecrets looking at funds received by gun rights groups from 1989-2020 shows he has received a disproportionately larger amount of funds from those groups, compared to other lawmakers. Cruz received $442,333 in that time period, compared to $248,058 to Steve Scalise, the second-largest recipient of funds from gun rights groups.”
MarketWatch: “The Texan ranked as the No. 1 recipient of campaign donations from gun-rights backers in the 2018 election cycle, as he attracted $309,021 in contributions.”
Is it any surprise then that Ted Cruz has spent decades serving the gun lobby and repeatedly blocking gun control measures in Congress?
Insider: “On a post-Parkland shooting proposal to raise the minimum age for firearm purchases to 21, ‘Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas drew a hard line, saying that ‘legal adults have the right to defend themselves.’ ‘The Bill of Rights applies to all adults, not just those Washington wants it to apply to,’ Cruz said. ‘I believe we should be protecting the 2nd Amendment rights of law abiding citizens.’”
Office of Sen. Ted Cruz: “U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced his cosponsorship of the Protecting the Second Amendment Act, which was introduced by Sen. Luther Strange (R-Ala.). The bill would amend the Gun Control Act to nullify generalized, routine, or ongoing reporting requirements on lawful gun owners based on geographic location or sales records of multiple long guns, and prohibit future executive action against them.”
CNN: “Cruz went on to tout his role in blocking President Obama’s effort to advance gun control legislation after 20 children and six adults were killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook massacre — a moment that a super PAC supporting his campaign highlighted in an ad.”
April 2013: “Ted Cruz voted against an amendment that would ‘regulate assault weapons.’”
PolitiFact: “The described proposal, presented by Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Patrick Toomey, R-Penn., would have expanded criminal background checks to gun shows and Internet sales… Cruz was among the critical 46 ‘no’ votes.”
And let’s not forget Kristi Noem, who has received more than $10,000 from the NRA’s political victory fund, and who has spent her entire career pushing an extremist agenda on guns.
Daily Republic: “Rep. Kristi Noem, R-S.D., isn’t interested in expanding federal background checks for gun-buyers. Background checks would not have stopped recent violent, public gun deaths, she said, and existing laws are not being enforced.”
Kristi Noem in January 2013: “I do not support reinstatement of the assault weapons ban in large part because the previous ban did not result in a significant reduction of gun violence”
Kristi Noem: “The NRA would be welcome to South Dakota. We understand the freedoms that come with defending our #2ndAmendment, how it allows us to protect our families and carry on SD’s cherished hunting traditions.”
Associated Press: “Gov. Kristi Noem signs ‘constitutional carry’ bill into law”