Four years ago, the National Rifle Association (NRA) was the single-largest donor to the campaign of Donald Trump, spending more than $30 million on behalf of Trump and nearly $55 million total on candidates (mostly Republicans) who promised to help protect their interests and vote the way the gun lobby wanted.
But with the announcement from New York Attorney General Tish James on Thursday that she will sue the NRA and seek to have it utterly dissolved as an entity, the longtime player in national politics is facing an existential threat like never before.
Bloomberg reports that the bad news from New York isn’t just a problem for the NRA. It also threatens many in the GOP who depend on the organization for campaign funds:
“‘The legal battles will hurt the NRA politically in the next three months’, said Daniel Kurtz, an attorney at Pryor Cashman LLP who represents non-profit organizations. ‘It will diminish its direct influence because they’re going to have to be in defense mode,’ Kurtz said.
“GOP politicians, from Trump to down-ballot candidates, have much to lose, as polls suggest some congressmen and senators are facing surprisingly strong challenges for seats previously considered safe. In past elections, the Republican party has benefited as the NRA energized its base, got people to the polls and funded its campaigns.”
Even before AG James made her move against the NRA, the gun lobby was already having to dial back its political contributions, with giving records making it clear the NRA won’t be a major player in the 2020 election:
“So far, the group and its political action committee have spent $901,119 on the 2020 federal elections, Center for Responsive Politics data indicates. It has also reserved $3.6 million of advertising time in the coming weeks, according to Advertising Analytics. Those figures compare to $54.4 million in all that the NRA spent on federal elections in 2016, the Center for Responsive Politics says. There wasn’t a ready comparison to this point in the last election cycle.”
There’s an old saying in politics that holds true to this day: Money is the mother’s milk of any campaign. The NRA, however, seems on the verge of running out of milk or even surviving. If the gun lobby group does indeed go belly up, that’ll be one less crooked organization to funnel blood money to Republicans.
In other words, good riddance to bad trash.