Once again, the National Rifle Association is poised to play a big role in a presidential election and whatever administration follows.
The NRA has grown into a mammoth organization, with an annual income of more than $200 million. Its many enterprises encompass a marketing arm, a political action committee, a charitable foundation, a defense fund and a battalion of lobbyists.
The group spent nearly $1.8 million on lobbying in the first three quarters of 2011.
Its core lobbying issue remains gun ownership and the right to bear arms, a subject included in a range of legislation last year.
Bills on which the NRA lobbied addressed such issues as concealed firearms, gun imports, interstate commerce, hunting, endangered species and use of firearms on federal lands. (A list of legislation appears below.)
It has lobbied the Alcohol and Tobacco Tax and Trade Bureau, the departments of Agriculture, Justice and the Interior, and the oval office.
The organization lobbies not only as the NRA but as the Institute for Legislative Action, which reported spending $1.5 million in the first three quarters. The institute hired six outside lobby firms in 2011:
Crossroads Strategies, LLC
SNR Denton LLP (fka Sonnenschein, Nath and Rosenthal)
C2 Group, LLC
Cauthen Forbes & Williams
Prime Policy Group
Shockey Scofield Solutions, LLC
Among the outside lobbyists working for the NRA is John Green of Crossroads Strategies. He previously was deputy chief of staff to former Sen. Trent Lott (R-MS).
The institute hired Shockey Scofield in October to lobby on provisions related to firearms regulation, natural resources and hunting in appropriations bills. John Scofield is a former communications director with the House Committee on Appropriations and Jeff Shockey was the committee’s minority staff director.
Much of the group’s power in Washington comes from its effectiveness in promoting candidates who are sympathetic to its aims and defeating those who aren’t.
A Washington Post analysis found that in the 2010 midterm elections, 80 percent of the House and Senate candidates backed by the NRA won.
The NRA maintains a PAC called the Political Victory Fund, which spent $14 million in the 2010 election cycle.
Expect more this cycle, as the group works to defeat President Obama, whom it views being radically anti-gun.
We checked the NRA store online for anti-Obama bumper stickers or T-shirts. We found slogans such as “A free people ought to be armed” and “From My Cold Dead Hands” but no direct mentions of the president.
At the group’s annual meeting during 2008 presidential campaign, Karl Rove described Obama as having “a long record of hostility toward the Second Amendment.”
As Bloomberg noted last month in a lengthy political profile, the NRA has scored some big lobbying victories in the past decade.
In 2004, lobbyists for the Institute for Legislative Affairs helped block renewal of the federal assault weapons ban. The following year, the group pushed successfully for a law limiting liability claims against gun manufacturers.
Here are the bills on which the NRA lobbied in the first three quarters of 2011:
H.R.1506: Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2011
H.R.1558: To amend the Toxic Substances Control Act
H.R.1581: Wilderness and Roadless Area Release Act of 2011
H.R.1865: Recreational Lands Self-Defense Act of 2011
H.R.1898: Veterans 2nd Amendment Protection Act
H.R.2112: Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2012
H.R.2219: Department of Defense Appropriations Act, 2012
H.R.2354: Energy and Water Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012
H.R.2584: Department of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012
H.R.2596: Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012
H.R.3070: Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012
H.R.420: Veterans’ Heritage Firearms Act of 2011
H.R.510: Idaho and Montana Wolf Management Act of 2011
H.R.546: Honor and Remember Flag Recognition Act
H.R.58: Firearms Interstate Commerce Reform Act
H.R.615: Collectible Firearms Protection Act
H.R.822: National Right-to-Carry Reciprocity Act of 2011
H.R.991: Polar Bear Conservation and Fairness Act of 2011
S.1066: A bill to amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972
S.1588: Recreational Land Self-Defense Act of 2011
S.1599: Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act, 2012
S.381: Collectible Firearms Protection Act
S.570: A bill to prohibit the Department of Justice from tracking and cataloguing the purchases of multiple rifles and shotguns.
S.798: Veterans’ Heritage Firearms Act of 2011
S.838: Hunting, Fishing, and Recreational Shooting Protection Act
H.R.1093: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Reform Act of 2011
H.R.1181: Protecting Gun Owners in Bankruptcy Act of 2011
H.R.1443: Outdoor Sports Protection Act
H.R.1444: To require that hunting activities be a land use in all management plans for Federal land …
H.R.1445: To prohibit the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency from regulating, based on material composition, any type of firearm ammunition or fishing tackle.
H.R.1642: Trafficking Reduction And Criminal Enforcement (TRACE) Act
H.R.1781: Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011
H.R.1996: Government Litigation Savings Act
H.R.308: Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act
H.R.496: Securing Citizens’ Protection at Federal Events Act
H.R.591: Gun Show Loophole Closing Act of 2011
H.R.645: Second Amendment Enforcement Act
H.R.901: Chemical Facility Anti-Terrorism Security Authorization Act of 2011
S.1061: Government Litigation Savings Act
S.32: Large Capacity Ammunition Feeding Device Act
S.34: Denying Firearms and Explosives to Dangerous Terrorists Act of 2011
S.35: Gun Show Background Check Act of 2011
S.436: Fix Gun Checks Act of 2011
S.835: Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives Reform and Firearms Modernization Act of 2011
H.R.1: Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011
H.R.1098: Free Competition in Currency Act of 2011
H.R.509: To amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to provide that Act shall not apply to the gray wolf (canis lupus).
H.R.990: To amend the Marine Mammal Protection Act of 1972 to allow the importation of polar bear trophies taken in sport hunts in Canada.
S.249: A bill to amend the Endangered Species Act of 1973 to provide that Act shall not apply to any gray wolf (Canis lupus).
S.321: Delisting Gray Wolves to Restore State Management Act of 2011
Lobby firms hired by the Institute For Legislative Action in 2011:
|Lobby organization||Filing Quarter||Amount|
|National Rifle Association of America||2011 3Q||$700,000|
|Crossroads Strategies, LLC||2011 3Q||$60,000|
|SNR Denton LLP (fka Sonnenschein, Nath and Rosenthal)||2011 3Q||$30,000|
|C2 Group, LLC||2011 3Q||$20,000|
|Cauthen Forbes & Williams||2011 3Q||$20,000|
|Prime Policy Group||2011 3Q||$20,000|
|Shockey Scofield Solutions, LLC||2011 3Q||$10,000|
|National Rifle Association of America||2011 2Q||$500,000|
|Crossroads Strategies, LLC||2011 2Q||$60,000|
|SNR Denton LLP (fka Sonnenschein, Nath and Rosenthal)||2011 2Q||$30,000|
|C2 Group, LLC||2011 2Q||$20,000|
|Cauthen Forbes & Williams||2011 2Q||$20,000|
|Prime Policy Group||2011 2Q||$20,000|
|National Rifle Association of America||2011 1Q||$575,000|
|Crossroads Strategies, LLC||2011 1Q||$60,000|
|SNR Denton LLP (fka Sonnenschein, Nath and Rosenthal)||2011 1Q||$30,000|
|C2 Group, LLC||2011 1Q||$20,000|
|Cauthen Forbes & Williams||2011 1Q||$20,000|
|Prime Policy Group||2011 1Q||< $5,000|