NRA's political donations small compared to MoveOn.Org

WASHINGTON — Here's a pop quiz on money in politics: Who gives more money to federal candidates, the National Rifle Association or MoveOn.org?

Answer: MoveOn.

And it isn't even close.

In the last two election cycles, MoveOn.org Political Action Committee spent more than $58 million in pro-Democrat political advocacy, according to Federal Election Commission records.

In just the 2006 election cycle, MoveOn.org spent $27 million in advocacy to elect a Democratic majority in Congress and used its formidable fund-raising clout to propel numerous Democratic challengers to House and Senate victories. By comparison, the NRA PAC donated $11 million in 2006.

"They give away and raise about three times as much as the National Rifle Association," said Massie Ritsch, communications director for the Center for Responsive Politics. "A tremendous amount of money, especially when you consider how quickly they came on the scene."

Thanks to Robert Aldridge for sending me this.

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Blogger Minnesota Central said...

Three comments.
#1. Elections are not determined by who spends the most, but instead by who comes out to vote.
The NRA doesn't just give money to candidates ... it can simply sway candidates by who it endorses and then voters will follow their endorsements in lockstep fashion in to the voting booths. Which was more valuable: the $9,900 NRA contribution to John Thune’s 2004 Senate campaign or the NRA endorsement ? Did Gore lose his home state of Tennessee (and hence the election) because of his inability to address NRA concerns ?

#2. That stated, has the NRA lost some of its impact ?
In the 2006, it made direct contributions link to 21 Senate campaigns (of which all but one were Republicans). It also expended funds to support or oppose candidates. The independent expenditures were used in many races, but the largest went to Senate races : Missouri ($288,287 supporting Talent plus $42,264 opposing McCaskell), for Santorum ($304,506) in Pennsylvania, for Conrad Burns ($168,058) in Wyoming, and Mark Kennedy ($159,978) in Minnesota. While in the House, the largest expenditures were Mike Sodrel ($41,254) in Indiana, Rick O’Donnell ($28,278) in Colorado, Barbara Cubin ($31,179) in Wyoming and David McSweeney ($28,378) in Illinois. Of all these major expenditures, the only candidate who won was Cubin and she won by a whopping 1,012 votes ( and yes, she represents Wyoming - a state that I suspect has a large percentage of NRA members.) Since many of these candidates were members of Congress already, name recognition should not have been a problem, so these expenditures were largely to maintain (reward) the NRA influence in Washington.

#3. Who will the NRA endorse in 2008 ? Rudy Giuliani and John McCain have not been favorites in the past … maybe Fred Thompson or Mike Huckabee? Best guess is to hear how the candidates are received at this weekend’s Celebration of American Values event sponsored by the NRA. Judging by the Speaker’s List, Bill Richardson may get the Dem nod as the only Presidential candidate to scheduled to appear.

9/19/2007 8:16 PM  

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