Trying to Tie Chris Christie to the NRA

A few readers have sent me this story from the Philadelphia Inquirer, that I think needs some clearing up.

Based on the task force’s report, Christie made anti-violence recommendations that gun control advocates said didn’t go far enough. Around that time, two donations came in to Christie’s gubernatorial re-election campaign from NRA lobbyist Randy Kozuch, campaign records released yesterday show: $2,000 on March 5, as the task force was completing its work, and $1,000 on April 23, a few days after Christie issued his final gun proposals.

Randy used to head up State and Local Affairs, which is essentially NRA’s state lobbying effort. All the NRA State Liaisons report through State and Local Affairs. When James Baker came back to ILA several years ago, he was put in charge of ILA’s Federal Affairs team. Chuck Cunningham, who at the time headed up Federal Affairs, moved to head up State and Local Affairs. Kozuch went to work for the Office of Advancement, which is outside of NRA’s political arm (ILA). He donated to Christies campaign privately. In short, maybe Randy Kozuch “isn’t mad at Christie,” but it’s completely factually inaccurate to suggest “NRA sent cash,” as the Philadelphia Inquirer has done here.

13 thoughts on “Trying to Tie Chris Christie to the NRA”

    1. “That’s chump change.”

      That sounds like what I’ve been saying.

      A lot of the local left have been screaming that our congressman has been “bought by the NRA.” I think the biggest number that I’ve seen, is that he got $6700 from the NRA. I’ve been saying that if a congressthing can be bought for that small an amount, I just may pick up one for myself.

  1. “two donations came in to Christie’s gubernatorial re-election campaign from NRA lobbyist Randy Kozuch.

    People shouldn’t read too much into what lobbyists do, because lobbyists are always looking down the road to their next, hopefully better job; maybe with an oil company or other major corporation. Therefore they will do things to buy favor and access for themselves, that do not necessarily further the cause that is currently employing them. “Access” is the currency of their realm, and they’d prefer that no one in the political world be mad at them, much less a potential president that they could put on their resume.

  2. At this point, tying Christie to the NRA is going to damage the NRA more than Christie…

    1. Did you read the post at all? NRA hasn’t given Christie anything. One individual employee has made a personal donation.

      1. I certainly lean toward agreeing with you, but in terms of perception, would we believe it, and make that distinction, if some personality employed by a leftwing organization made a significant contribution to an anti-gun candidate? Or would we almost always be sure to make note of the contributor’s affiliations when commenting on it, and suspect the personal donation was somehow channeled from the employer or an associated entity?

        Just sayin’ — we all tend to pay attention to, or ignore, fine details of a story, in proportion to how well they serve our argument or reinforce our worldview. A donation for Kozuch is perceived as support from the NRA, even if legally that cannot be established.

        1. You may not make a distinction when it comes to lefty group contributions, but I do. I used to research this kind of stuff in a previous life, so I actually have pretty high personal standards when it comes to how to distinguish between personal donations and the organization. If it’s one employee, that doesn’t reflect anything – unless the organization has one employee, then it can be argued that it’s likely a reflection of the organization. If it’s one employee out of hundreds, or even a handful of employees who don’t hold major titles, then I would say it also does not reflect on the specific organization. If it’s a decent number of high level staff or staff in key lobbying/campaign-related roles, then that does point to being reflective of the organization. Yes, I apply those standards the same to groups I support, groups I don’t care about, and groups I oppose.

          1. I think something we could commiserate about is how often public perceptions will be at odds with the fine details we find when doing careful research, and how, when we try to explain those details, we are often perceived as apologists for whoever people love to hate at the moment.

            Down my personal memory lane, when I was employed by a major corporation, I had to take actual vacation days when I was going to appear as an issue-advocate on a TV or radio show, if it was during business hours. “Personal Business” time that would have gone unquestioned otherwise, or “comp time” could not be used, for fear that the corporation would be perceived as supporting my position. Only time that was clearly and beyond question my own could be used. I don’t know if there is an analogy in that, other than the question of “public perceptions.”

            In my opinion a lobbyist, or just an employee, of a public policy organization or other political should be excused or even discouraged from making contributions, unless contributing to a candidate or organization endorsed by his or her employer. (I know there is a question of “rights” in that.)

            I am cognizant enough of “perceptions” that I no longer make anything but anonymous, untraceable donations to anything or anyone. It doesn’t take much searching to find that in the past I made donations that I now regret, because of the possible perceptions of what I was associated with — though at the time I simply didn’t know any better, and was duped by practiced charlatans.

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