The Washington Post reported that the National Rifle Association is about to drop $2 million to attack President Joe Biden for trying to eliminate ghost guns, calling for an assault weapons ban and implementing background checks to all sellers at gun shows. The suggestions are small but any gun safety laws are seen as a violation of their rights to the NRA.
Interestingly, however, Sen. Chris Murphy (D-CT) noted how low the figure is.
“The actual news here is that the NRA, facing bankruptcy, has only $2m to spend,” he tweeted. “For comparison, Senate candidates were spending $2m A DAY last fall. This ‘campaign’ is a proof point that the political momentum has shifted.”
The actual news here is that the NRA, facing bankruptcy, has only $2m to spend. For comparison, Senate candidates w… https://t.co/0POEnn4zSS
— Chris Murphy (@Chris Murphy)1619096853.0
Politico cartoonist Matt Wuerker joked that $2 million is CEO Wayne LaPierre’s salary and shopping budget from the organization. Part of the internal fight with the NRA is that LaPierre spent almost $300,000 on suits from Beverly Hills on the NRA dime. As of 2018, LaPierre’s base salary was $1.3 million “plus a bonus of $455,000 and ‘other reportable compensation’ of more than $427,000, the filings show. LaPierre also received an additional $73,793 in ‘retirement and other deferred compensation’ and ‘nontaxable benefits’ from the NRA and related entities, according to the filings, which the NRA provided to The Washington Post on Friday,” the Washington Post reported in 2019. It’s unclear how that has changed during the uprising of the NRA board and in the wake of investigations into the group’s finances.
The NRA spent that much on Lapierre’s salary, bonuses and shopping allowance last year https://t.co/ghSrIASfJd
— Matt Wuerker (@Matt Wuerker)1619098929.0
According to the new ad buy, “more than $400,000 will be spent in Maine, West Virginia and Montana on television ads that say ‘Stop Biden’s gun grab.'” The ads are meant to target U.S. Senators that the NRA views as swing votes on gun issues. Ironically, Maine and West Virginia are pointless markets because Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) was just reelected. Sen. Angus King (I-ME) isn’t up for reelection until 2024, giving him ample time to explain his vote to the state if it’s a problem. Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) has already indicated he’s not going to support any gun legislation. He also failed to pass any meaningful legislation the last time he promised he’d get it done.
In March, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow eviscerated Manchin for failing to pass background checks after the Sandy Hook massacre.
“More than 90 percent just want freaking background checks, full stop, the rest of the country stood back and took very credible senators to pursue this rinky-dink, tiny reform instead. They said that was something they could get done and they failed,” said Maddow. “They failed, even after six-year-old first-graders were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary.”
Manchin has an A-rating with the NRA. Collins isn’t up for reelection for another six years. Sen. Jon Tester (D-MT) is up for reelection in 2024, and isn’t likely to take a stand. So, the NRA is essentially wasting $400,000 of their ads.
“Some Democrats worry about the impact of a gun debate on the 2022 midterm elections,” said the Post. “In 2014, the late senator Kay Hagan (D-N.C.) lost reelection after voting to support legislation to expand background checks. The NRA spent millions to defeat Hagan that year.”
In 2014, Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) won with just 49 percent of the vote. He scored over $4.4 million in independent expenditures from the NRA and other groups at the time. While it’s unclear what kind of money the NRA has, if it can only spring $2 million to fight Joe Biden, Sen. Murphy thinks they’re hurting.
“In addition to the TV ads, the NRA announced that an additional $600,000 will go to targeted digital advertising in the original three states and Arizona, North Carolina, Florida and Pennsylvania,” the Post said. “Another half-million dollars will be dedicated to a direct mail campaign that will also hit Utah, Alaska, Wisconsin, Ohio and Indiana.”
Essentially the NRA is targeting their own members with the desperate hope that they’ll care or pay attention. The last time gun owners were polled in 2018, it was revealed that 70 to 80 percent of NRA members support a universal background check.