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Donations from the National Rifle Association for the 2018 midterm election are down sharply this election cycle following a year that saw several high-profile mass shootings, one of which led to a call for companies and candidates to cut ties with the gun owner advocacy group.
According to filings from the Federal Election Commissions, the NRA has spent around $11 million on contributions in the 2018 midterm elections. The final tally will be released after Tuesday’s elections.
The drop in spending comes in a year that has seen an investigation into what federal authorities say were Russian agents seeking to influence the 2016 election by trying to funnel money through the group, in addition to mass shootings and a drop in individual and corporate support.
Others say the decline in campaign funding is due to a decline in membership and fundraising in the wake of mass shootings in Las Vegas and Parkland, Florida.
In the 2014 midterm election, the NRA’s political action committee and political nonprofit arm spent more than $14 million on independent expenditures and around a million on direct campaign contributions to candidates and groups. At this point for the 2018 election, the NRA has spent $9,114,585 in independent expenditures and just over $800,000 in direct contributions to candidates.
In the 2016 presidential election, the group spent a whopping $54 million in support of the presidential and congressional races. Of that amount, $11 million went in support of Donald Trump’s campaign and nearly $20 million went out in expenditures attacking Hillary Clinton’s campaign.
Organizations such as the NRA may support (or oppose) candidates by making independent expenditures. Independent expenditures are generally in the form of advertisements for a candidate – or against that candidate’s opponent. Independent expenditures can also include items like paying for flyers to be printed or paying the postage to mail them out.
Independent expenditures are not considered contributions to candidates and are not subject to contribution limits. The donor may not coordinate with candidates in spending the money.
In contrast, the gun safety political action committee created by Gabrielle Giffords, the former Arizona congresswoman who was shot in the head at a 2011 constituent meeting in a Tucson suburb parking lot, has spent $15 million this election cycle.
Here are the candidates whose campaigns have received the most direct contributions from the NRA in this election cycle. The numbers below are from Open Secrets, a nonpartisan website that “tracks money in U.S. politics and its effect on elections and public policy,” and they are based on contributions from PACs and individuals giving $200 or more.
All donations were made during the 2018 election cycle and were released by the Federal Election Commission. Figures for the current election cycle are based on data released on Oct. 26, 2018.
House of Representatives
By the numbers: