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“Shadow Republican Money Groups”: Soft Cash Changes Hands Between Crossroads GPS And The NRA

While the National Rifle Association has been making headlines in the wake of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. last week, its nonprofit affiliate has been flying under the radar.

The NRA Institute for Legislative Action is a conservative 501(c)(4) group that is not required to disclose its donors, but the Center for Responsive Politics dug up a six-figure contribution from a similar tax-exempt group.

In its investigation into shadow money groups, the Center uncovered a $600,000 donation to the NRA’s nonprofit from Crossroads GPS — the 501(c)(4) associated with Karl Rove and his super PAC, American Crossroads. In the 2012 election cycle, the NRA Institute for Legislative Action spent $7.4 million on independent expenditures, bringing the overall total spent by NRA-affiliated groups to $17.6 million.

In order to maintain 501(c)(4) status with the Internal Revenue Service, social welfare must be the main focus of these groups, so they cannot have more than half of their overall spending go toward politics.

According to an OpenSecrets Blog report from earlier this year, in 2010, Crossroads gave large sums to Americans for Tax Reform, National Federation of Independent Business, Center for Individual Freedom and National Right to Life. Recipients of Crossroads for the 2012 election cycle will not be available until next year when it files with the IRS.

The NRA, with its nonprofit affiliate, spent $11.4 million of the money they spent in the general election opposing Democrats and $5.9 million supporting Republicans. Within the NRA Institute for Legislative Action, about 63 percent of its $7.4 million was spent against Democrats, according to data from the Center for Responsive Politics.

Although the money trail is further clouded when one 501(c)(4) gives money to another, Crossroads GPS and the NRA Institute for Legislative Action’s goals were similar, as shown by their overlapping targeted candidates.

The NRA Institute for Legislative Action focused on 62 candidates, spending at least $100,000 on 11 of them. The most it dropped on a single candidate was the $3.2 million opposing President Barack Obama, followed by the $885,000 it spent favoring Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

In addition to Obama, other Democratic candidates the nonprofit opposed this election were Ohio Sen.-elect Sherrod Brown ($408,000), Florida Sen. Bill Nelson ($378,000) and Virginia Sen.-elect Tim Kaine ($350,000) — all of whom nevertheless won their respective races. On the other side, Republican benefactors included Sen.-elect Jeff Flake ($322,000), Wisconsin Senate candidate Tommy Thompson ($243,000) and Ohio Senate candidate Josh Mandel ($168,000).

The NRA’s PAC also spent about $9.5 million on independent expenditures that targeted many of the same candidates. The PAC spent about $16.1 million overall.

By: Michelle Martinelli,, December 17, 2012

December 24, 2012 - Posted by | Guns, Politics | , , , , , , ,

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