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Since the mass shooting in ras Vegas, there has been lot discussion about the nationwide Rifle Association’s affect on total policy.

In late-night host Jimmy Kimmel’s monologue about Las Vegas and the affect of the total industry, he charged that Senate bulk Leader Mitch McConnell, residence Speaker Paul Ryan and also other legislator "won’t do anything around this because the NRA has actually their balls in a money clip."

New York Times columnist Bret Stephens pushed earlier at that id in his "Repeal the second Amendment" column, saying that gun control advocates were overstating the NRA’s money footprint.

"The national Rifle association does not have actually Republican ‘balls in a money clip,’ together (late-night TV host) Jimmy Kimmel put it the other night," Stephens wrote. "The NRA has donated a paltry $3,533,294 come all current members of Congress since 1998, according to The Washington Post, identical to about three months of Kimmel’s salary. The NRA doesn’t must buy influence: It’s an effective because it’s popular."

We found that Stephens’ characterization, if accurate, doesn’t reflect the true scope of the organization’s political heft.

"Assessing the NRA's politics spending specifically by that donations to conference candidates pipeline millions in spending out," said Alex Howard, deputy director of the sunlight Foundation, which monitor transparency and influence in politics and also policy.

For this report, we drilled additional into the NRA’s politics spending — including lobbying and outside safety in gyeongju — to market a much more comprehensive check out of its affect in Washington.

(The NRA didn’t respond to an inquiry because that this article.)

Direct candidate contributions room not the whole story

The insurance claim of $3.5 million in donations is based upon credible data, yet narrow.

The Washington Post database summarizes NRA contributions to current members that Congress, search by state and also lawmaker, going back to 1998. (The Post database revised its total for NRA contributions to $4.23 million top top its last upgrade on Oct. 5, the same day Stephens’ shaft was published.)

The Post structured its database in a method to do it straightforward for reader to search for how much their representative or senator received from the NRA.

That means the database won’t allow searches because that NRA donations to previous members the Congress who were serving because that a part of that virtually 20-year period. If you include these members, the quantity of contributions rises substantially.

The Post’s emphasis on members of congress also way it doesn’t include NRA donations come candidates for federal offices other 보다 Congress, or to parties or party committees.

If you include together every one of the NRA’s contribute to candidates, parties and also leadership political activity committees between 1998 and also 2016, it come to much more than $13 million, follow to calculations native the center for Responsive Politics’ database.

That’s more than three and also a fifty percent times larger than their straight contributions to existing members of Congress.

But there’s more.

NRA spends millions an ext intervening in campaigns and lobbying

The NRA’s best chunk of safety on national politics came indigenous "outside spending," consisting largely of "independent expenditures" — efforts "expressly advocating the choice or defeat of a plainly identified candidate." often these take the kind of project ads, yet they are brought out without coordinating with the candidates they space supporting.

This type of spending vastly outpaces what the NRA invested on offering to candidates directly. The NRA spent $144.3 million on outside spending, such together independent expenditures, throughout that period.

In addition, the NRA since 1998 has actually reported spending a cumulative $45.9 million on commonwealth lobbying, both because that its in-house operations and the outside consultants it has actually retained.

If you add it all up -- candidate and party contributions, live independence expenditures, and also lobbying -- the NRA has actually spent $203.2 million on political activities since 1998.

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In this pie chart, the red slice is composed of the NRA’s spending for candidate contributions alone.