Michael Dorstewitz is eager to defend the National Rifle Association from the March for Our Lives in his March 26 Newsmax column:
Although no one can doubt the sincerity of their passion and resolve, their rage is misdirected. The NRA isn’t at fault for Parkland or any other shooting. Blaming the NRA for a firearm death is akin to blaming the AAA for auto accidents.
Although the NRA is primarily engaged in firearm safety and education, it also has a lobbying arm — the NRA Institute for Legislative Action (NRA-ILA). But it’s not nearly as powerful as gun control advocates would have you believe.
The NRA-ILA doesn’t appear on OpenSecrets.org’s list of top 20 lobbying firms. Nor does hunting and shooting sports appear on the organization’s list of top 20 sectors. How about gun control? Nope, not a top 20 issue. Finally, guns and arms is absent from the organization’s list of top 20 industries.
Dorstewitz is misleading about how the NRA spends money on influence. PolitiFact serves up the actual numbers:
The NRA’s biggest chunk of spending on politics came from "outside spending," consisting largely of " independent expenditures" — efforts "expressly advocating the election or defeat of a clearly identified candidate." Often these take the form of campaign ads, but they are carried out without coordinating with the candidates they are supporting.
This type of spending vastly outpaces what the NRA spent on giving to candidates directly. The NRA spent $144.3 million on outside spending, such as independent expenditures, during that period.
In addition, the NRA since 1998 has reported spending a cumulative $45.9 million on federal lobbying, both for its in-house operations and the outside consultants it has retained.
If you add it all up -- candidate and party contributions, independent expenditures, and lobbying -- the NRA has spent $203.2 million on political activities since 1998.
So, yeah, it's pretty powerful.
Dorstewitz concluded his column by making another misleading claim:
The NRA receives nothing in federal funding and is responsible for zero deaths.
Planned Parenthood, on the other hand, received more than $500 million in funding from the 2018 Omnibus bill, and destroys more than 300,000 human lives per year.
As we've repeatedly pointed out, federal money to Planned Parenthood does not pay for abortion, as Dorstewitz suggests, because it is forbidden by law.