Spokeswoman Loesch says NRA isn’t a lobby group

Greg Nash

National Rifle Association (NRA) spokeswoman Dana Loesch on Monday pushed back on the characterization of the NRA as a lobbying group.

“NRA isn’t a ‘lobby group.’ It’s a fellowship organization of gun owners,” the spokeswoman wrote during a Twitter argument over the role of the NRA.

Others on Twitter, including former U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, pushed back on Loesch’s claim, noting the NRA does have a lobbying arm, the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action. 

The NRA-ILA’s website describes itself as “the lobbying arm of the NRA.” The institute dedicated more than $12.6 million to political spending in 2014, according to the Center for Responsive Politics.

Funds for the NRA-ILA are kept separate from the rest of the organization. Membership fees do not go toward lobbying efforts, according to CNN.

The NRA-ILA notes how it mobilizes NRA members on its website.

“ILA’s ability to fight successfully for the rights of America’s law-abiding gun owners directly reflects the support of NRA’s 5 million members — a number that has more than tripled since 1978. When restrictive ‘gun control’ legislation is proposed at the local, state or federal level, NRA members and supporters are alerted and respond with individual letters, faxes, e-mails and calls to their elected representatives to make their views known,” the site reads.

The political efforts of the NRA have come under scrutiny during the national debate about enacting new gun legislation in the wake of a mass shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 people dead this month.

Several corporations have ended their partnerships with the NRA, and student survivors of the shooting are calling to vote out NRA-backed lawmakers.

The NRA Political Victory Fund, the group’s political action committee, is responsible for the organization’s campaign efforts and is separate from the NRA-ILA.

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