By Corinne Murdock |
Previous Democratic state representative Gabby Giffords alleged in a federal lawsuit that the National Rifle Association (NRA) broke campaign finance laws by using shell corporations to coordinate advertising with individuals running for federal office. The lawsuit alleged that the NRA illegally gave up to $35 million to the campaigns of at least seven candidates: previous President Donald Trump, who may have received up to $25 million; Republican Senators Josh Hawley (MO), Thom Tillis (NC), Ron Johnson (WI), Tom Cotton (AR); former Republican Senator Cory Gardner (CO); and Representative Matt Rosendale (MT).
These illegal contributions allegedly occurred in the 2014, 2016, and 2018 elections. In that last year, Giffords filed complaints to the Federal Election Commission (FEC) against the NRA’s contributions. After the FEC didn’t act, Giffords sought and received a district court order this September to compel the FEC to act within 30 days. The FEC reportedly failed to act once again, allowing Giffords to sue. Those named in the complaint are the NRA, Rosendale, and Hawley.
Giffords’ counsel asserted that these allegedly illegal funds were the NRA “buying influence over elected officials” as part of a national scheme. Giffords Law Center Senior Staff Attorney David Pucino characterized the NRA and the politicians they backed financially as corrupt.
“The NRA has long acted like it is above the law, and it has done so flagrantly in the last several election cycles. This lawsuit demonstrates that the NRA broke the law by illegally coordinating with federal campaigns and funneling millions of dollars to candidates who supported their extremist, deadly agenda,” said Pucino. “We are suing the NRA to finally hold them accountable for actions that corrupted politicians and undermined our democracy.”
The NRA responded Thursday, asserting their innocence.
“[Just] another premeditated abuse of the public by our adversaries, who will stop at nothing in their pursuit of their anti-freedom agenda. This latest action is as misguided as it is transparent,” asserted the NRA. “Suffice it to say, the NRA has full confidence in its political activities and remains eager to set the record straight.”
Giffords’ lawsuit describes how she co-founded her gun violence nonprofit in 2013 to compete directly with the NRA after surviving a targeted shooting in 2011. The other co-founder was her husband, Democratic Senator Mark Kelly.
As AZ Free News reported in September, Kelly never recused himself from voting on President Joe Biden’s since-retracted nominee for the Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF), David Chipman, who his nonprofit hired, endorsed, and backed financially.
The lawsuit requests relief in the form of limited funding in future elections and a penalty payment matching their allegedly illegal contributions: up to $35 million.