Yo' NRA *So Broke* That If It Were A Poor Person It Would Be Sad And Not Funny
The NRA is so broke ... (you: HOW BROKE ARE THEY?) that they cannot even afford to provide free coffee or water for their staffers anymore, which is kind of the most basic of staff amenities. We'd feel really bad for them, except that we don't really want to live in a country that has a mass shooting every week anymore. (Although would Dana Loesch without her morning latte be better or worse? It is hard to tell!)
The Trace, a news site tracking gun violence in America, reports that staffers are freaking out all over the place over the new austerity measures put in place after membership dues declined by over $35 million -- a 22% drop -- last year. In fact, they have so little money these days that they had to cut all their spending on midterm elections:
The coffee cutback is just the latest indication that the NRA is hurting for cash. Membership revenue declined by $35 million last year, and the NRA recently rolled out its second dues increase in as many years. In May, the gun group sued New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, claiming that the state's zealous regulatory efforts against its Carry Guard insurance program had cost the NRA "tens of millions of dollars" in lost revenue, legal fees, and other damages. (A federal judge recently ruled that the suit can go forward.)
Perhaps the most vivid evidence of belt-tightening at the NRA was its drastically reduced spending on the 2018 midterm elections. The group shelled out just under $10 million on House and Senate candidates this cycle — less than half of what it spent on congressional races in 2014 and 2016.
Huh! I wonder how many politicians would continue to oppose gun control measures, in the face of so many mass shootings, were they not getting all that sweet, sweet NRA money? It seems like a bad idea to continue looking that ridiculous if you are not even getting paid for it.
The Trace reports that the austerity cuts have come at the behest of Josh Powell, the NRA's executive director for operations, who also plans to "greatly reduce education and training" (which is probably the only non-horrifying thing the NRA does) and "slash the number of the NRA's publications down to one magazine," which I hope they will call "Gun Fancy." Currently, the NRA has six magazines that all sound like they are the same magazine anyway -- Shooting Sports USA, NRA Family, NRA Hunter's Leadership Forum, Shooting Illustrated, American Hunter, American Rifleman, and America's 1st Freedom.
There's no data on why people are dropping their NRA memberships, but it may have something to do with statements like this one from NRA spokeswoman Dana Loesch about the Thousand Oaks mass shooting.
"SURE, mass murders are 'bad,' but you know what's more horrific? California has universal background checks!" isn't a sentiment bound to win over a lot of people, especially when 90% of Americans actually support universal background checks.
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Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse