The National Rifle Association (NRA) reported a $55 million drop in revenue in 2017, according to tax records.
The drop includes a $27 million drop in donations from the group’s record-breaking $125 million in 2016. Of the $98 million in donations that were recorded in 2017, $19 million came from a single donor. Additionally, the NRA also saw a $35 million drop in member dues contributions.
This has limited the amount of lobbying the NRA has been able to do. In 2016, the group spent $76 million in support of President Trump’s campaign. In 2017, expenditure on lobbying was down to $27 million. Overall, their operating budget was down $82 million, and the group ended the year $18 million in the red.
In July, the NRA filed a lawsuit against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D), New York’s Department of Financial Services (DFS), and New York’s Superintendent of Financial Services Maria Vullo. The NRA claims that the state violated the NRA’s first-amendment rights when the DFS named the group’s insurance policy “Carry Guard,” as being illegal under state law.
According to the NRA, that decision pressured other insurers to drop policies tied to the group. After losing their media liability coverage, the group alleged it might have to shut down its NRATV as well as other publications.
The lawsuit also alleges that banks have begun distancing themselves from the group out of fear of regulatory reprisals.
According to the NRA, the DFS decision combined with statements and actions by Cuomo are intended to “coerce insurance agencies, insurers, and banks into terminating business relationships with the NRA that were necessary to the survival of the NRA…”
The NRA has faced increasing backlash over the last several years following several mass shootings, most notably the February 14, 2018 shooting at Parkland High School in Parkland, FL. The group also clashed with doctors after tweeting:
Someone should tell self-important anti-gun doctors to stay in their lane. Half of the articles in Annals of Internal Medicine are pushing for gun control. Most upsetting, however, the medical community seems to have consulted NO ONE but themselves. https://t.co/oCR3uiLtS7
— NRA (@NRA) November 7, 2018
Just hours later, a mass shooting at a California bar killed 12 people. Doctors responded by taking up the hashtag #ThisIsOurLane:
Can’t post a patient photo…. so this is a selfie.
— Dave Morris (@traumadmo) November 10, 2018
— Mary L. Brandt MD (@drmlb) December 15, 2018
But the NRA’s problems don’t end with lower financials and feuds with doctors. The group is under increasing scrutiny after Russian agent Maria Butina pleaded guilty to infiltrating the group on behalf of the Russian government.
Butina admitted to working for years to create relationships between leading Republicans and conservative activists. She identified the NRA as a group that could influence the Republican Party. She noted that her relationship with the group could be used as an unofficial communications channel with a Republican presidential administration. Former Russian government officials agreed and used her NRA connections to gain access to GOP presidential candidates.
NRA spent $30 million on efforts to support the efforts to elect Donald Trump.
Jenn Bentley is a writer and editor originally from Cadiz, Kentucky. Her writing has been featured in publications such as The Examiner, The High Tech Society, FansShare, Yahoo News, and others. When she’s not writing or editing, Jenn spends her time raising money for Extra Life and advocating for autism awareness.