Republican lawmakers just got caught using campaign funds to pay NRA dues

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In light of the mass school shooting in Parkland, Florida yesterday, revelations that 11 Republican lawmakers used campaign funds to pay dues to the National Rifle Association seem that much more disgusting today.

Two sitting senators and nine sitting representatives used campaign funds to pay between $25 and $1,500 to the NRA, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) and Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) both spent over $1000 on NRA dues, all using campaign funds.

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The FEC rules are a little complicated when it comes to this kind of thing. You can’t use campaign funds to pay for personal expenses, but you can use them to pay for membership dues in an organization that may have political interests.

Then there’s the “irrespective” test. Lawmakers cannot use campaign funds to pay for an expense they’d have regardless of if they were in office. So the question is, would these lawmakers hold NRA memberships even if they didn’t hold office?

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The NRA has spent countless millions of dollars backing political candidates, including $30 million to get Trump elected president.

The debate over NRA influence in politics and gun control laws has reignited in the wake of the Parkland, FL shooting yesterday. Democrats have called, once again, for stricter gun control laws including restriction on access to guns for people with mental illnesses.

The question now is whether there is enough political will to overcome the power of the NRA in the 2018 midterm elections.

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