August 13, 2019 / Press Releases

Sen. McConnell’s Opposition to Gun Safety Legislation Fueled By Gun Lobby Contributions

The gun lobby has spent over $1.3 million dollars to help Senator Mitch McConnell get reelected

After the recent tragic mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton that killed 31 people, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is still blocking bipartisan, common sense legislation that would institute mandatory background checks on all gun purchases. The bill, H.R. 8, passed the House in February but McConnell has refused to put the bill up for a hearing or a vote in the Senate even though 90% of Americans support it.

Inaction on the gun violence epidemic is nothing new. Since the 2010 Citizens United ruling, the gun lobby and the NRA have unleashed millions of dollars, bankrolling politicians who oppose common sense gun safety reforms. In his last reelection, McConnell was one of the biggest beneficiaries of the NRA’s dark money arm. Over his career, the NRA has poured almost a million dollars in outside spending to bolster McConnell, and he has received over $120,000 in direct contributions from the gun lobby over the course of his career.

“Whether it’s mass shootings or tragedies that plague our communities every day, we’re losing tens of thousands of lives to gun violence. These tragedies are terrorizing our communities, yet spineless politicians like Senator McConnell refuse to act because they won’t stand up to the gun lobby,” said End Citizens United President Tiffany Muller. “Senator McConnell has some serious soul searching to do. He needs to decide whether the NRA and money from the gun lobby is more important than the lives of the American people.”

In 2008, before the Citizens United ruling, the NRA spent less than $10 million to influence federal elections. Six years after Citizens United, that number skyrocketed to at least $54 million in the 2016 elections, an increase of almost 450%. In campaign contributions alone, the gun lobby gave $5.9 million directly to Republicans in 2016. From 1998-2017, over $144 million in outside money was spent by the NRA. Since 2013, $76 million has been spent on lobbying by gun groups, including lobbying against common sense reforms to improve campaign finance disclosure. The NRA and others are amassing unprecedented power over these politicians who refuse to contradict their biggest donors.

End Citizens United (ECU) recently named McConnell to its list of “Big Money 20” members of Congress for the 2020 cycle. The Big Money 20 campaign aims to educate voters about incumbents who represent the worst of Washington and rally support for reforming the political system. The members of the Big Money 20 are incumbents who take money from corporate special interests, like the gun lobby, and then put those interests ahead of their constituents.

End Citizens United has highlighted McConnell’s unpopularity around the country and the benefit to candidates in Congressional battleground districts and states who contrast their campaigns with the rigged system he represents as a foil in their campaigns. A recent ECU poll, conducted by GSG, found that Democrats have a 3 point advantage on a generic ballot. After being exposed to messages on Trump, it becomes a 6 point advantage. But the biggest margin is after being exposed to messages on Sen. McConnell, which becomes a 9 point lead. In May, ECU launched a $50,000 digital ad campaigntargeting McConnell, highlighting his long history of enabling corruption in Washington and putting special interests ahead of his constituents. ECU also released a poll conducted by PPP showing McConnell is unpopular at home and a majority of voters (63%) believe he is more responsive to big campaign donors than Kentuckians, including 46% of Trump voters.

# # #

Next Post

End Citizens United to Mitch McConnell: Stop Stonewalling, Secure Our Elections