Report: The NRA Really is Running Out of Money

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

In a lawsuit against the state of New York, the National Rifle Association (NRA) recently claimed that Governor Andrew Cuomo's campaign against the NRA had tilted the group toward bankruptcy, but is that actually true or did they lie in court?

According to Open Secrets, it's true. The NRA has continued to spend money, but they're putting it on their credit card.

Financial records obtained by Open Secrets show the NRA has been running a deficit ever since they dumped everything they had into getting Trump elected.

“Their current business model cannot be sustained the way it is going,” said Brian Mittendorf, an accounting professor from Ohio State University. “It can be sustained in the short term, but not the long term. The financial statements would indicate that.”

By the end of 2017, the group spent $26.1 million more than it brought in, expanding its existing deficit from the previous year to $31.8 million.

“The big takeaway is that there were some red flags about their long-term financial health in 2016,” Mittendorf told OpenSecrets, “and nothing alleviates those concerns in their 2017 financials. If anything, it shows they’re coming to fruition.”

There's a lot going on here.

First of all, this does not necessarily boost their case against Cuomo. The records obtained by Open Secrets show that the NRA has lost nearly $40 million per year in member dues as more people leave the group, not because Cuomo has pressured banks and financial institutions to stop doing business with the NRA.

It has also become fairly clear that the NRA's spending spree during the 2016 campaign season was fueled, in part, by Russian oligarchs who coordinated with the group through Maria Butina, the Russian spy recently indicted by federal prosecutors.

Considering everything we know, it's an open question to me if the NRA is running a deficit largely because their foreign donors dumped them after installing Trump in the White House.

But maybe it's more simple than that. Maybe they're running a deficit because their Infowars-lite TV channel is garbage and fewer and fewer people want to be associated with a domestic terrorist organization.

Whatever the case may be, I hope they eventually go bankrupt and dissolve. We can all piss on the ashes.

  • Draxiar

    Thoughts and prayers, motherfuckers.

  • Victor the Crab

    Maybe the NRA should have been better off letting Democrats, like Obama and Hillary, win the presidency so they can ramp up their fear campaign that they were going to “grab their guns”.

  • Aynwrong

    Is there any part of the conservative movement that isn’t simply a fraud?

  • David Greenberg

    I know this is terrible, but I can’t help myself: I wouldn’t waste my piss on their ashes.

  • Badgerite

    I have to wonder if some of that Russian money funneled into political campaigns was dirty. I mean crime money laundering dirty. If so and there is a prosecution or some federal action of some sort against the NRA, I wonder if it would be possible to RICO their ass. One can dream.

  • muselet

    At last, some good news to start the day.

    The NRA has long opposed ass gun-control legislation, no matter how mild. The NRA has long been a fund-raising and get-out-the-vote partner for the GOP. The NRA has long relied on its base of angry, mostly white, mostly middle-aged or older, people to keep shoving money its way.

    The NRA wasn’t always tone-deaf. It used to trundle out Wayne LaPierre to say outrageous things, then would have someone more reasonable-sounding reassure the press—which fell for the con every single time—that no, of course the NRA didn’t believe Americans had the right to own tactical nuclear devices, that’s just silly. It used to maintain a (brief) semi-respectful silence after a mass shooting before howling about how terrible it is to politicize an unavoidable tragedy and how dare those un-American pinko commie liberals use these deaths as an excuse to take away law-abiding citizens’ shootin’ irons waffle blather send us money.

    All that’s changed: Wayne LaPierre has been neither seen nor heard lately (have they locked him in his office?), no one from the organization even pretends to sound thoughtful and meausred any longer, and bullet-riddled bodies aren’t even allowed to cool before the NRA starts its screeching. Membership—never huge, despite the “mine’s bigger than yours” bravado—is down, as are donations. Even the angry white wrinklies seem to be getting fed up.

    I make no doubt that the Koch brothers or Sheldon Adelson or some other reactionary billionaire will top up the NRA’s coffers before too long, although I doubt they’ll bankroll the long-shot lawsuit against New York (too much exposure, too little chance of success). The NRA will arise from the ashes, pissed-on or not, but under new management .

    For now, though, I’m doing the Snoopy dance.


    • Aynwrong

      I wonder if Wayne is smart enough to have said enough is enough and decided to just bail. Take his money and haul off to some tropical island or a comfy cabin someplace quiet sit back, pour himself a nice wine or something stiffer and watch the world burn.