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Why Does Congress Sell Itself So Cheap To The NRA?

Posted by Richard Conniff on June 20, 2016

Back then, corruption was actually a scandal.

Granted that our system of legalized bribery allows rich people to buy political office-holders, I’ve never understood why the price seems so cheap.  For instance, the Washington Post reports that the National Rifle Association has donated $3,782,803 to members of Congress since 1998.  Divide that by 18 years and it’s just $210,000 a year, to be subdivided among 100 senators and 435 representatives.
Assuming the money goes to just half of them, that works out to less than $800 per year.  You would not think it would be enough to make even our preternaturally venal elected officer-holders turn against the interests of the people they have sworn to represent.

And it’s not.As one reader explains it:

Direct contributions to candidates is a sliver of the amount of money the NRA spends in campaigns via PACs and in spending against their chosen candidates’ opponents. In the case of Senator Cory Gardner (R-CO), the following figures have been reported elsewhere:

Direct Contributions by NRA: $5,950 (this figure matches yours)
Independent Contributions (via PACs): $1,225,129
Campaign Spending to Defeat His Opponent(s): $2,708,120
Total Spending by NRA on Cory Gardner: $3,939,199

This data tells a much different story.



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