Bloomberg Bashing NRA With His Media Empire

I’m not surprised to see a piece in Bloomberg Businessweek, trying to dig up dirt on NRA probably to try to discredit HR822, and maybe help push the IRS to investigate his claims:

A toaster that burns the National Rifle Association’s logo onto bread fetched $650 at an auction last month, just one reflection of the money-making power in the gun group’s brand.

The NRA, which began as a grassroots organization dedicated to teaching marksmanship, enters the 2012 election season as a lobbying, merchandising and marketing machine that brings in more than $200 million a year and intends to help unseat the incumbent president. From 2004 to 2010, the group’s revenue from fundraising — including gifts from gun makers who benefit from its political activism — grew twice as fast as its income from members’ dues, according to NRA tax returns.

The gifts from the gun makers do not go to NRA political activism. The toaster money raised don’t go to political activism (ours raised $400 from a reader who bought it). They go to the NRA Foundation, which does not participate in political activity. Indeed, it cannot participate in political activity.

More than 50 firearms-related companies have given at least $14.8 million to the Fairfax, Virginia-based group, according to the NRA’s own list for a donor program that began in 2005.

Again, mostly to the NRA Foundation to support shooting sports programs. What they fail to mention is that the amount donated by NRA’s 4 million members is orders of magnitude larger than what’s donated by the industry. That’s why this quite is insulting:

“Unlike organizations which start out controlled by industry and created by industry, like lobbying groups for coal or oil, they really started out as a grassroots organization and became an industry organization,” said William Vizzard, a former agent of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms who’s now a professor of criminal justice at California State University in Sacramento.

They became an industry organization in Professor Vizzards mind, and that’s about it. If he can back this up, which he can’t, I’m all ears. I think the NRA’s response to requests for comments are highly appropriate:

“The NRA will not participate in agenda journalism driven by a news organization owned by an avowed enemy of the Second Amendment — a politician who has been aggressively working against the interests of the NRA, our members and the nation’s gun owners for years.”

Bloomberg can keep this smear campaign up all he wants, but I’m here to tell him his nightmare is true. We’re going to hammer New York City’s gun laws on the relentless anvil of civil rights legislation and litigation. We’re going to beat Bloomberg into submission to the Bill of Rights.

23 thoughts on “Bloomberg Bashing NRA With His Media Empire”

  1. It must really burn Bloomberg up that the NRA is basically a well-oiled machine that not only has its face of course in the Political scene, but with many different social associations (Boys Scouts, 4-H, Gun clubs, etc with their NRA Foundation grants). This was a pretty extensive and exhaustive article that really dug into the nitty gritties with pretty good research being done on the part of his minions.

    Sure, firearms industry companies donate to the NRA…but this is dwarfed in comparison to the Average and not-so average “bitter clinger” who donates to the NRA from time to time.

    NRA Foundation, great time with great people. Can’t wait till next’s years dinners…will check out the Shotgun lamp or something for the kiddies.

  2. Hmm…

    Can we sue Bloomberg for slander? Oh wait, he’s protected by first amendment rights which don’t apply to us bloggers who aren’t “licensed” members of the press.

    I always wondered why the media could make blatant lies. But now I know, it’s because they have “press passes”.

  3. Sebastian, have you read or posted the story of Mrs. Meredith Graves of Tennessee who while visiting the 9/11 Memorial saw a sign saying no guns allowed?

    She then remembered the gun in her purse for which she had a Tennessee permit. So she went to the nearest guard and asked if he would take possession of it while sthe and her husband visited the shrine and was arrested on the spot and may spend a minimum of 3 1/2 years in a NY prison!!!

    Talk about an outrageous travesty of justice! I am beginning to hope terrorist DO strike NYC on New Year’s Eve if that’s their idea of American freedom!!!

    Forgive me. That was over the top on my part. But it reveals my true, outrage at this!

    If you already posted this story, I apologize. If not, just google Meredith Graves and you’ll get the story. It’s an outrage!!!

      1. Well, a state/city like NY/NYC that depends a lot on tourism had better get with the program now that 2/3 of the nation lives under shall issue or constitutional carry regimens. Our favorite mayor is notorious for saying before the Great Recession that NYC is a “luxury product” … well, now it’s a luxury a lot more people can do without. Not that he cares, but in the longer run….

      2. Thanks for the link, Dirk! I wanted to post one, but I can’t seem to attach links using my smartphone. (It’s really not the phone’s fault; I’m just too old and lazy to figure out how to do it. ;-) )

  4. Pity our opponents are so truth challenged that we can’t point out to them the real gun manufacturer’s lobby, the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Seeing as they, for example, put on the SHOT Show and pushed for the successful change in tax submission periods (it was bi-weekly, rather onerous when the rest of the country does this sort of thing quarterly) they’re not inconsequential. (Consider getting yourself on their mailing list, they do a number of interesting things.)

    There’s even some recent dirty politics here, as Wikipedia reminded me:

    The NSSF alleged that Barack Obama’s presidential campaign unlawfully obtained a copy of the NSSF’s proprietary SHOT Show media contact list, which Obama used to send out a press release concerning “National Hunting and Fishing Day”.

  5. Sure Bloomberg means it for ill, to show the warts of the NRA. We pro gun folks however need not feel like we must defend the NRA at all costs any more. We need to face facts that it has long been corrupt and is now the playground for money interests that care much more for their pocketbook than our rights. The NRA was apparently taken over by a public relations firm some years ago.
    It grieves me to say this as one who first joined in 72. Still, they do perform some valuable work for us and not all is lost. They are just not the shining Knights they portray themselves as. We will probably not be able to undo the corruption in the NRA. It’s probably too far gone. We should at least acknowledge the facts. Bloomberg did not make all that stuff up. Your no better than the wild eyed liberals when you deny clear facts about a group that is using you in ways to make money and not to advance gun rights. I think a fair comparison is to the AARP. That group is not much more than an insurance marketing organization (that saves me hundreds of dollars)and not the pro elderly group they portray themselves to be. I hate them for their support for Obamacare. I just need the money more than my pride. The amount is considerable.
    Do we still need the NRA? On balance yes. Just don’t be a sucker about it and think your really supporting our cause by supporting them when for them it’s about how much money can be funneled towards their personal business interests.

    1. One thing I stress to people is that NRA is not a monolithic organization. There are some in NRA I would not trust to run a lunch cart. There are some who are competent and dedicated, and who do very good work. It’s possible to make targeted donations to the outfits that are doing good work, and ignore the ones who are not.

      I certainly don’t think NRA is perfect, and I’d certainly like some more information about what’s going on with channeling grants back through their suppliers, for instance, but on the balance, we would not have gun rights today if it wasn’t for the NRA.

    2. I also wouldn’t characterize that relationship as “taken over.” They have a relationship with a PR firm. Some of the work that firm does is impeccable. Other work it does is shoddy. I am not a fan of the current relationship as it stands now, but also consider I’m an outsider. I don’t know details. But from what I’ve seen, I think on the whole they need to weigh their strengths and weaknesses, and re-evaluate their use of that firm in areas where they are not doing a good job.

      Not going to go into detail there, because I don’t want to do that in a public forum.

      1. I also wouldn’t characterize that relationship as “taken over.”

        OK, how about “The NRA is first and foremost run for the benefit of Ackerman McQueen; everything else comes after that.” And of course there’s plenty of wealth to be spread around in the foci of an organization of 4 million dues paying members, including plenty of entirely good things although precious few in the political arena.

        1. I wouldn’t take it that far, and I’m not someone who’s happy with NRA’s relationship with Ack-Mac as it stands now.

    3. The NRA was apparently taken over by a public relations firm some years ago.

      Ackerman McQueen in this case; Google them + NRA and you’ll find out lots more.

      We will probably not be able to undo the corruption in the NRA. It’s probably too far gone.

      Indeed, they’ve changed the by-laws so that a Cincinnati Revolt can never happen again. There were claims some of these moves were illicit but overall the NRA won in court.

      And yes, all the rest of your points are correct, although they’re sort of not as bad as the AARP. While on the one hand no Federal level gun control act passed without their approval prior to the AW ban and they … panicked? after Virginia Tech and worked with our favorite NY House member to push a “Veterans Disarmament Act” with some incredibly vile provisions (fortunately this was watered down to something acceptable at the last minute), since then they’ve been well behaved on the national level as far as I know.

      But I can’t in good conscience belong to America’s most successful gun control organization (in deeds, not words) and their playing the pork game with Harry Reid didn’t help (and in fact that lost them all of my father’s money he was sending them beyond membership dues). Now the latter is not a RKBA problem but something that shows how they can be terribly and destructively maladroit when it comes to politics; at least in this case as far as I know they only hurt themselves.

      1. I spent a lot of time arguing over that bill when it came up. On balance, that bill was pro-gun. Virginia Tech was sort of our opponents last hurrah (at least I hope). That was the last time I can remember they started to get momentum in Congress.

        And ultimately NRA didn’t endorse Reid largely because of pressure from membership. I could make a case that was a politically bad move, because Reid still controls the Senate…. and if we don’t get HR822 passed, it’s largely going to be because of stiffing him on the endorsement. I am no fan of Harry Reid, but he’s who you’re dealing with as majority leader, and his support can be won for pro-gun bills, but he’s a political animal, and NRA ultimately had to hobble their political power to stave off a revolt from membership who weren’t considering the consequences in the next Congress.

        1. Note my words “their playing the pork game“; I’m not talking about an endorsement of Reid, which I would be entirely happy with then or today given his 180 in actions. As Neal Knox was fond of quoting, “When I feel the heat I see the light”, and that is the only thing that works with ~99% of politicians and should be rewarded.

          I’m talking about how in the era of the Tea Party, the Great Recession and “trillion dollar deficits as far as the eye can see” (actually trillion and a half) they arranged an earmark with Reid and then proudly blasted that out in the membership magazines. That was profoundly tone deaf … and if I remember the timing correctly (not at all sure about that) it helped to make it impossible for them to endorse him.

          1. Harry is a porker, which is one of the more lamentable things about him. But if he throws that kind of bone at you, and you’re a single issue outfit, you’re not going to throw it back in his face and say no, because it’s pork.

      2. I should also note that it was pro-gun Democrats who brokered the deal to gut McCarthy’s bill, throw a bone to the gun control folks in Congress in the form of funding for states to report records to NICS, and attach a bunch of other provisions to the bill that allows gun rights to be restored for mental health disabilities… which previously was not possible.

        1. I should also note that it was pro-gun Democrats who brokered the deal to gut McCarthy’s bill….

          In the context of a discussion of the NRA’s sins I could not care less about the Democrats at the national level coming to their senses (except that it of course helped reign in the NRA when they couldn’t peddle gun control measures even to the nation’s party of gun control). It’s what the NRA tried to do with McCarthy that was intolerable, where my usage of that word is akin to the Intolerable Acts, right up to and including active rebellion against the Federal Government.

          In particular, it proposed to turn a BATF regulation into statutory law, whereby entities (I’m sure I can look up the exact wording if needed) much less formal than the courts could strip anyone of their RKBA, going far beyond the current law where a court must involuntarily commit someone or declare them … mentally deficient? (I forget the exact term.) This regulation had been used by the Clinton VA to put many vets with only PTSD diagnoses into the NICS, hence the informal name given to the bill by the RKBA community.

          Given how wide the net of “mentally ill” has been cast I can’t see how such a bill could be “On balance, … pro-gun.” as you characterize it in a message above. Or at least I know you claim, e.g in the example of hunters, how we should not play “salami slice”, throw one kid off the sleigh games with our enemies.

          1. I’m not recalling this particular accusation in regards to making a BATF regulation statutory law, but there was so much BS floating around propagated by GOA over this bill, that it was hard to keep track of them all. But in regards to the PTSD determinations, HR2640 actually put a stop to those. GOA claimed otherwise, but GOA was full of shit.

            It was, on balance, pro-gun, because in exchange for a funding provision for NICS, which was a relatively meaningless concession, we got some very significant improvement in the law for mental health adjudications, including the ability to have rights restore, which had previous been non-existent. Prior to HR2640, an adjudication for mental health was a lifetime prohibition with no recourse. Even felons have the option of a pardon, at least.

  6. I think the important thing to remember about politics is that, as a reflection of values, principles, and ideologies, it doesn’t really work. Politics and lawmaking is a game. If you’re a lobbying outfit for a cause, which NRA is, you need to have legislative goals you want to achieve. Everything NRA does; doling out PAC money, making endorsements, and grading candidates, is done with the support of legislative goals in mind. It’s not always a reflection of who is the absolutely ideal candidate ideologically. It would be like trying to play poker by not making any real bets until you have the perfect hand, or in chess being unwilling to strategically sacrifice pieces.

    Politics is a game that must be played if you’re going to reach legislative goals.

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