The anti-gun crowd is fond of saying things like
“We’d have gun control if the NRA hadn’t bribed congress”
“we could pass an assault weapons ban if it weren’t for all the NRA blood money”
Oh course this isn’t true but I guess blaming a failed policy idea on bribery is more satisfying than accepting it lacks popularity.
The NRA gets it strength from NRA members, and the reason gun control doesn’t pass is because the majority of americans don’t want it. That’s the plain and simple truth but the anti’s don’t want to accept that because that would make demonizing the NRA much harder. Much harder because no matter how they lie or how much the anti’s lie about it most Americans want less gun control not more.
As gun owners and members of the NRA we know congress isn’t “owned by the NRA” if congress was owned by the NRA we’d
- Have national reciprocity
- Repeal the NFA,
- End that mysterious never voted on machine gun ban
- Get rid of that excise tax
- (tell me what I forgot in the comments)
Of course if you’re reading this then you probably already knew that the NRA doesn’t own congress but would it even be possible to buy congress? What are the anti’s saying when they suggest that congress has been bought and paid for by the NRA?
The assumption by the anti’s seems to be that the majority of americans want more gun control but the NRA bribes politicians and then the laws don’t get passed.
So is it possible for a special interest group like the NRA to buy congress and get politicians to vote in opposition to their constituents wishes?
To answer whether or not it is possible to “buy congress” that let’s examine the motivation of career politician. The short answer is votes. Every term congressional candidates need to re-win their seat. They don’t have to worry too much though because it is very rare to unseat an incumbant even if they commit horrible crimes while in office. So the motivation for most politicians is to stay close enough to the party line to avoid angering the few people that actually vote.
Now you might be thinking, it’s not just votes, politicians also want money and power. That’s true for sure but how much money would it take to get any given politician to vote in a way that would endanger their reelection? Well lowest pay for a congressman is $174,000 and it is a 2 year term. So a vote against something the majority of their constituents want could cost them $348,000.
How much would you take as a bribe to risk your job? That’s a rhetorical question, no one reading this blog would take a bribe. But if you were to consider such a thing would two years be enough? Especially if your ambitions were to be a senator or president. Especially if your motivation isn’t money but power.
So lets say two years salary was enough to risk their congressional seat, that means the NRA would need to spend roughly 180 million dollars every two years get every congressional rep to vote against a law that “every american” wants. But hey they don’t need to bribe them all, right? Just half plus 1 so 90 million every two years. And maybe some are cheaper than others so let’s cut it in half again 45 million.
That’s a lot of money to spend, especially since bribery is illegal and the NRA would have no recourse if the politicians double crossed them. So how much did the NRA spend bribing, er, lobbying congress?
According to the NY post the NRA spent $3,533,294 lobbying all current members of Congress since 1998. That works out to $347 per congressional seat per year. That wouldn’t even cover dinner in D.C.
But hey maybe it only takes $347 to bribe a politician? If that’s the case though couldn’t the anti gun groups scrape up $348 it would be cheaper than trying to convince all of America of the same tired lies?
It does appear to be true that the anti-gun groups donate less than the NRA to political candidates though I would be surprised if they weren’t just better at hiding it. So lets say it is true, why do they donate less to political candidates? Is it because:
1) They don’t think it is an effective strategy? In which case why are they so concerned about how much the NRA donates?
2) They can’t raise enough? This would indicate they have far less support than they claim, that Americans don’t support the anti- American gun control laws they are proposing.
3)They’re morally opposed to bribery? Seems unlikely since they aren’t opposed to lying but, anything is possible. But even if they were opposed to bribery ….if it saved 1 life ….