NRA IRS and Election Law Fraud Exposed?

200px-NRA_Virginia_HQ

I’m not an accountant, a lawyer or tax attorney. So I can’t tell you whether or not The NRA’s brazen shell game with donations: A Yahoo News investigation reveals a major scandal in the National Rifle Association’s fund-raising practices and reporting to the Internal Revenue Service. But it doesn’t look good. At all . . .

Early last summer I began making contributions to the National Rifle Association — a dollar here, a dollar there — to see where my money would end up. Some of it quickly found its way into the account of the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund, the NRA’s political action committee. And that was of no small interest, because I never knowingly contributed to the NRA-PVF.

For me, this wasn’t a big problem; my contributions were a spit in the bucket for an organization that spent $37 million on the 2014 elections and operates on an annual budget of more than a quarter of a billion dollars. But my contributions and others like them may be a big problem for the NRA because, according to some of the nation’s top experts on federal election law, they are all illegal.

The issue is not just that my donations ended up in a political fund account, but the way the NRA solicited them — and presumably those of thousands of others. In fact, each of these transactions almost certainly violated multiple provisions of the Federal Election Campaign Act (FECA) and a legion of state and federal antifraud statutes designed to protect the public from phony charities and false or misleading solicitations.

Again, I am not equipped to make even a basic determination as to the veracity of the claims, presented in considerable detail, complete with supporting statements from relevant experts. I await clued-in members of our Armed Intelligentsia’s take on the charges.

Meanwhile, the word “arguably” in author Alan Berlow’s conclusion leads me to believe that this exhaustive report isn’t all that it seem to be. But this much is true: either the article is misleading and inaccurate or the NRA is about to fly into a shitstorm of major proportions.

NRA solicitations through its corporate and PVF websites have arguably violated all these state statutes. And because of the way the NRA has structured its PAC, any state attorney general with an interest in investigating these apparent violations would have authority to subpoena all relevant NRA records dealing with its nationwide fundraising operations.

Watch this space. [h/t RA]

comments

  1. avatar Kittenfists says:

    Something like this was only a matter of time for them, in this day and age. Hopefully they were forward thinking enough to be prepared for it. And have dotted and crossed every t and i.

  2. avatar CMM says:

    Maybe the NRA could hire Hillary – then they would get her bullet proof pant suits and they too could laugh off and walk away from such an unethical abuse of power.

    1. avatar -Peter says:

      They should just trot out her defense of “sorry, I deleted all of the relevant records pertaining to this request. Oh, and I destroyed the servers.”

      It would be interesting to see how well the leftists/democrats like that excuse when it’s used against them for a change.

  3. avatar God says:

    If you question the NRA then you are a traitor. And will be punished by the loons at TTAG.

    Just saying 😉

    1. avatar AllAmerican says:

      The IRS and Lois Lerner got a free pass so why not the NRA? I’m sure if the NRA deletes 30,000 emails the Feds will do more then write a sternly written letter too.

      Hillary for Prison 2016.

      1. avatar Accur81 says:

        Word.

        On a related note, I seriously doubt the NRA is as corrupt as Hillary. The liberal progressive media does everything they can to vilify the NRA, yet Bloomies money is “squeaky clean.”

    2. avatar mike oregon says:

      You’re new around here, aren’t you?

      1. avatar BDub says:

        LOL! They must be. There is quite the ongoing split where the NRA is concerned, is there not?

    3. avatar Chris Poche says:

      Anyone arrogant and egotistical enough to use the screen name “God”, has no business telling anybody they are a loon.

      1. avatar Ralph says:

        Actually, I think he’s dyslexic and wrote his name backwards.

        1. avatar Mike says:

          Pog?

    4. avatar Retired Para says:

      So “God,” just how firearms do you own? You have been a NRA member for how long now?

      Seriously, you ooze anti-gun troll.

    5. avatar BlueBronco says:

      How is you son, Jesus doing?

  4. avatar JohnO says:

    And so goes the game of chess we call Freedom.

  5. avatar Brian says:

    I’m not worried in the slightest

  6. avatar John E> says:

    If you don’t designate your donation, it does not matter where they put it. If the ILA solicits you, it goes to the ILA. I cannot believe that the NRA, with it’s attorneys, accountants, and third person auditors would have violated FEC rules. If they did it would boggle the mind.

    1. avatar mark says:

      I think you’ve got it there. You can tell what’s up from the way the article is written. This guy began making tiny donations. Why? I’d say so that he could become a plaintiff. Some of his money went into NRA-PVF? How does he know that? Probably because the NRA accounts for how all general contributions are allocated–not by some super sophisticated financial sleuthing. And if that’s the case, then it’s a good bet that the NRA has cleared this with their lawyers and accountants, of whom they probably have more than a few and who are not wet behind the ears.

      But the big point for the Left now is to use law suits to tie their targets up in litigation to diminish their effectiveness. IOW, to suppress free speech with the threat of litigation. We’ve seen this tactic increasingly in the last several years.

      1. avatar pyratemime says:

        There is actually a term for this. It is called Lawfare. It is used internationally between countries as well and some consider it an aspect of asymmetrical warfare.

      2. avatar Steve says:

        “Some of his money went into NRA-PVF? How does he know that?”

        Based on reading the original article on Yahoo, he is basing it primarily on what appeared on his credit card statement as well as on conversation with his credit card company.

    2. avatar hobbez says:

      Nowhere in his article does he show how he tracked where his donations went. He doesn’t even make the claim that he specified which NRA branch he was donating to. He also does not point to or footnote which FEC regulations say that what he is claiming the NRA is doing is a violation. You would think a “thorough” investigator would have this info handy to allay the claims of his opposition. Guess that says something about Yahoo’s investigations.

      This is just like Harry Reid standing in the Senate and flat out lying that Mitt didn’t pay his taxes. It’s not the crime that matters anymore, its the accusation.

      1. avatar chuck (hates nj) says:

        He does show how he tracked his donation near the end of the article. There’s a screen shot of his credit card charged to NRA PVF he claims his Dollar was donated to ILA. But who knows it could be bs or the PVF is just processing donations before distributing them to the branch they were donated to. maybe someone who has donated to the NRA before could tell us if that’s normal.

        1. avatar working4change says:

          like near all nonprofits with multiple arms… all donation go through one hub and it sent to the appropriate arm.

          would make no sense to have each arm duplicate administration staff and costs to deal with donations. ever donation gets a tracking number for Tax purposes. x goes to administartive cost, the rest is move along to where it needs to go. if someone specifies where or how its to be used. its all recorded and documented this way.

          the bigger the organization, the more complex it is. if the Donation come in with no Direct use, the Organization can use it where it sees fit for any arm/part of the company it chooses. once a Donation goes into general funding pool, there is no futher tracking of the donation. like drops of water in a 1000 gallon tank, once in, there is no way to seperate or track the same Drop

      2. avatar Steve says:

        The original article on yahoo indicates, among other things, that he made a donation on the NRA-ILA site which then, based on his credit card statement, went to the NRA-PVF. His allegation and the allegation of the experts interviewed for the article is that this is illegal. I’m no expert on campaign finance law so I can’t confirm or deny whether that’s true. NRA-ILA is the lobbying arm and NRA-PVF is the campaign financing arm so one allegation essentially is that money being solicited for lobbying is being used for campaign financing without disclosing that to the contributor.

    3. avatar BlueBronco says:

      Leftists are lying liars that lie and this is likely just a smear campaign hoping that the lies will be accepted as fact by the low information voting bots in the Demo party.

  7. avatar Phil LA says:

    I made donations to the NRA so that they could use the money as they saw fit, whether politically, in training, scholarship, keeping the lights on or Wayne’s salary. Next question.

    1. avatar AllAmerican says:

      Agreed. I don’t see what the big deal is here.

      1. avatar Stinkeye says:

        The big deal is that election laws, like most laws, are a byzantine web of bullshit intended to keep an army of otherwise useless people (lawyers and politicians) employed. As such, what you and I might consider reasonable, common sense stuff could in fact be a serious violation of one of the aforementioned bullshit laws.

      2. avatar Steve says:

        The big deal primarily is that NRA-PVF is a PAC and as such is subject to a myriad of campaign financing laws. In a nutshell PACS have to disclose to donors what the money is for. If a donation is made, as far as the contributor is concerned, to NRA-ILF for lobbying purposes and winds up going to NRA-PVF then the donor hasn’t been informed he’s donating to a PAC. Of course his claim as to where the money went is based on what was on his statement and the information provided by his credit card company. NRA, like pretty much everybody else probably uses a merchant account company to process their transactions. The merchant account provider would transmit whatever information NRA gave them to transmit to a cardholders bank for any given transaction. That doesn’t necessarily mean the money actually went into the NRA-PVF account since the merchant account company isn’t verifying that. They are just putting whatever descriptor they are told to. In any event no matter how the processing is done, it’s unlikely that the information on his statement is coming directly from the NRA’s bank in which case it could potentially say anything regardless of what actual account the money went into. The latter being what really matters although a mistake on the former really doesn’t look very good.

    2. avatar int19h says:

      There are a bunch of rules surrounding donations for political campaigns in particular, which have to do with limits, citizenship (non-citizens can’t donate for some purposes), association with foreign organizations etc.

  8. avatar LarryinTX says:

    Interesting. How does he claim he found this out? I donate hundreds each year to NRA, and the ILA, and not a nickel to PVF. I would be interested in finding out, if my money was being diverted, and I would support prosecution if that were the case. But I find it difficult to believe that there is some mechanism to determine where each individual dollar of my donations has gone. The article sounds like a croc, to me.

    1. avatar Warren says:

      Something something serial numbers something something Illuminati. I, too, am curious how he managed to track an individual dollar’s journey through NRA coffers.

    2. Agreed, I was wondering how he was “tracking” the money as well.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Maybe he folded over a corner of the bill … copied the serial number?

        1. avatar Yellow Devil says:

          I’m guessing the dollar bills he donated had Washington crying with a text box saying “think of the children…”.

    3. avatar chuck (hates nj) says:

      He’s got a screen shot of his visa card statement with the charge from NRA PVF. It’s hidden in the last half of that super long article. Does this mean it stayed in a PVF account after being processed? I don’t know but I have no reason to believe it couldn’t be transferred to the appropriate account after processing.

    4. avatar Steve says:

      He looked on his credit card statement and verified that with his card issuing bank. You can look at your statements and see if any of them indicate NRA-PVF or similar. Of course just because that’s what it says on the statement doesn’t positively mean that the money went into that account. The merchant information on a statement is just what the cardholders bank has received as a description from whomever processed the transaction and that in turn is whatever is programmed into their system to be reported with transactions on that merchant account. That info may or may not be correct and may or may not match the actual account associated with what’s reported. It would be entirely possible for a merchant account provider, especially one that handles multiple NRA accounts, to assign “NRA-PVF” as the description, to an account that in reality is the account for NRA-ILA. In that case the money would actually go to the right place but the description on a contributor’s statement would be wrong. You would hope they would catch a mistake like that quickly. If your statement doesn’t match the branch you contributed to, call them and ask them why.

  9. avatar Bruce Badger says:

    Considering how Obummer has weaponized the Federal bureaucracy to attack political opponents, would not be shocked to find that was the case here. I:m skeptical of these claims at this point, I trust the NRA a hell of a lot more than I do ANY arm of our government, and certainly the MSM.

  10. avatar Dev says:

    Is this any different than union dues going to political campaigns?

    1. avatar mark says:

      Short answer: No.

      Long answer: No.

      1. avatar SteveInCO says:

        Even longer answer, “No, but it’s the Eeeeeeevil NRA so it does matter anyway.”

    2. avatar Paul R says:

      The difference is in the way they have done it. Donations appear to have gone to a PAC without a notice saying that a part of the donation would go there. These donations are also open to the general public where it is only supposed to be open to members.

      The difference isn’t what is being done it is how it is being done which doesn’t mean unions or other groups are not breaking the same rules.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        “where it is only supposed to be open to members.”

        Says who? I never heard of such a rule/law.

        1. avatar RocketScientist says:

          If you read the article they mention this requirement several times. There are apparently requirements under federal elections laws governing solicitation of funds which require among other things:

          -A corporation or membership group may solicit only from its members or employees – what is known as its “restricted class.” It may not solicit from the general public.

          -Websites used for solicitation by a corporation or membership group must be accessible only to members or employees – i.e. the “restricted class.” They may not be accessible to the general public.

          I am not a lawyer, so have no idea how applicable these guidelines are to the donations the author is writing about. But they are part of what he is accusing the NRA of violating.

        2. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          “If you read the article”

          You mean the one written as a “Yahoo News INVESTIGATION” and with legal advice provided by a lawyer for the DNC?

          This guy is peeing up a wet rope into the wind and acting like he’s “on to something,” just like every other Yahoo “news” writer on every other topic.

      2. avatar int19h says:

        This has interesting implications if any non-citizens have donated money that way (which is something that I’ve done with NRA in the past).

        http://www.fec.gov/pages/brochures/foreign.shtml#Prohibition

        1. avatar Geoff PR says:

          Any bets on how long it will take for someone to notice that?

          I say 3 days.

  11. avatar MarkPA says:

    There is a time-honored saying that one shouldn’t get into a pissing match with a man who buys his ink by the barrel.

    Strikes me as any such litigation ought to inspire a new saying: “Don’t get into a pissing match with an organization whose members buy smokeless powder by the barrel.”

    If any such action by a State AJ got any traction the fallout would be enormous. Every other large membership organization with similar exposures would join in the fight in support of the NRA. NRA membership would be given another big boost. Congressmen would be called upon to state their support/opposition to the litigation.

  12. avatar brentondadams says:

    lol a ‘yahoo news investigation’ okay. Wake me up when someone gives a shit.

    Personally I give the NRA money, they can send it wherever they think it should go.

    1. avatar working4change says:

      agree 100%…

      also this will be our last “Election” the Comucrats want to steal anyway they can. any litigation will of course be dropped or thrown out weeks after the election.

      but they will tieup cash and reduce NRA effectiveness with hopes to stop them if even for a few months. they dont care how much it costs taxpayers. they want keep control till all the damage from the BOY King is finished. the end of the USA is their focus this election.

  13. avatar John L. says:

    “Some of it quickly found its way into the account of the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund, the NRA’s political action committee. And that was of no small interest, because I never knowingly contributed to the NRA-PVF.”

    I wonder how he knows this.

    1. avatar chuck (hates nj) says:

      He has a screen shot of his cc charge from NRA PVF. I’m wondering if they just process those donations through there.

  14. avatar Stacy says:

    The article is a highbrow-sounding discussion of campaign contribution laws, but Berlow merely asserts in the beginning that he donated “to see where his dollars ended up”. No mention of how he allegedly tracked his personal donations. I’m an NRA member and I get solicitations from -PVF and -ILA. Without any additional context, it looks to me like Berlow is just assuming his money was forwarded to those groups because he got junk mail from them.

    Par for the course for liberal media, and awfully convenient timing with campaign season beginning and gun control swirling down the drain.

    1. avatar SteveInCO says:

      He put a radioisotope tracer on the dollar bill and used a super whiz bang scanner to track where the radiation was coming from in the building.

      OK. That’s a joke. But even if the individual dollar bill (hell he probably donated electronically, but leave that aside) went to the wrong part of the building, it’s perfectly permissible to swap dollar bills in transit as they are legally identical. An auditor would be concerned with the amounts of money going to different places, not the physical bills’ path of travel.

    2. avatar RocketScientist says:

      Jesus christ, do NONE of you people actually read an article before commenting on it? He very clearly states how he determined where the donations went. I’m not going to tell you. If you want to know READ THE DAMN ARTICLE. Whether this technique is accurate, who knows. But he very much did state hoe he made that determination.

      1. avatar Stinkeye says:

        I’d estimate the number of folks here who actually read any given linked-to article before commenting about it to be about 20%…

        1. avatar hellofromillinois says:

          Agreed!

      2. avatar Stacy says:

        My name isn’t Jesus, and yes I read the article. I still say he hasn’t made any reasonable effort to show that he tracked his donations. You ever read your credit card bills? All kinds of wacky stuff shows up in the description field next to the charges. Berlow’s claim is that because the letters “PVF” show up in that field, it means for sure that his donation went to PVF. His whole premise is completely made up, and I’m giving it all the respect it deserves.

        1. avatar RocketScientist says:

          “My name isn’t Jesus…”

          I am very well aware of this. I was using ‘Jesus Christ’ as an expletive, not as a form of direct address to yourself.

          “yes I read the article”

          Are you SURE about that? Because your initial post is at odds with what is stated in the article, and at odds with what you state in your second reply.

          “No mention of how he allegedly tracked his personal donations.”
          “…it looks to me like Berlow is just assuming his money was forwarded to those groups because he got junk mail from them.”

          Listen. I get the point made in your second reply, that relying on CC statements to assess where the money went is probably not the best method. I have no idea how accurate or inaccurate this guys reporting is. But don’t pretend like thats the point you were originally trying to make. It’s not. Its obvious you didn’t read the article until you were called out for not reading it. How hard is it to admit when you’re wrong, or just leave it alone? I don’t understand the need to lie to justify yourself to some other random person on the internet. Seems silly to me. Have a great day.

        2. avatar Stacy says:

          Ok, I can see how it looks like I didn’t read the article before my first post, but I did. My point is that Berlow’s “proof” is obvious BS, and he must know it. The whole thing is just a 1/10th-assed excuse to get ‘NRA makes illegal donations’ into the news cycle. And note, it comes right after a couple different pieces in the NYT thumbsucking about how the NRA “won”, with the usual crapola about corporate speech and campaign finance.

          Berlow isn’t an earnest, crusading investigative reporter. He’s part of the apparat, and this article is part of a political campaign. So again, I’m giving it, and him, the respect deserved.

        3. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          For someone using the moniker “Rocket Scientist,” you sure are missing a lot of logical pieces in your self-righteous indignation toward the rest of us.

          Go ahead, blast others for not jumping to conclusions not supported by the article. He makes ZERO connection between what was on his CC bill and where/how the NRA used the money. Your assertions do not make Stacy, et al wrong and it does not improve the logic of this so-called “investigation” by a Yahoo hack.

        4. avatar RocketScientist says:

          JR – So you’re another one who doesn’t like to read (or at least comprehend) what you’re commenting on? In my comments I repeatedly state I’m not agreeing with the author, nor saying that the method he used to determine where his money ended up is a good one. I don’t think it is. I think its just as likely (if not more so) that the PFV processes all the payments before they get divvied up to ILA or wherever it’s final destination is, or some other equally likely legal explanation than that the PFV is taking illegal donations. I also agree with you that the writer is a hack, with an axe to grind. I seriously doubt the NRA is doing anything to blatantly illegal as what the author alleges. If you’d actually read my posts, or had an iota of reading comprehension skills you’d have seen this. Please demonstrate where in my comments I “jump to conclusions not supported by the article”?

          You state “Your assertions do not make Stacy, et al wrong and it does not improve the logic of this so-called “investigation” by a Yahoo hack.”. Clearly you did not read (or have the intelligence to comprehend) my comments, or else it would be clear that all I assert is that the author DID in fact state how he determined where his money had gone (by checking CC statements), which is clearly stated in the article. Since Stacey claimed the author did not state how he determined such a thing, Stacey was clearly wrong. I even specifically said I”m not saying this is a valid method for verifying this info, just that the author makes it clear its the method he used (as opposed to Stacey’s original statement that the author provided no such information). As for your last point, I agree, I place very little credence in this author’s writing, and am very skeptical that the NRA has broken as many laws as the author alleges (or any). Was this simple enough for you? I can re-type it all out using monosyllabic (that means only having one syllable) words. As for my name, it is merely my profession. I am a scientist who works on rockets and spacecraft among other projects. Anything you read into it beyond that is on you.

        5. avatar JR_in_NC says:

          I read your earlier tripe just fine before commenting on it. So, again…FACT FAIL.

          See…just because you don’t like what someone is saying, that does not mean they did not read what you wrote. Just because you don’t understand the point someone is making (ie, Stacy above), that does not mean THEY failed to read the linked article.

          This is at least the THIRD time you have falsely accused someone here of not reading something.

          Here’s a suggestion for you: stop accusing people of doing/not doing things when you have ZERO facts to support the assertion. You’ve been WRONG each time. “Rocket Scientists” usually try to learn from their mistakes.

          But…I will admit..I did not read ALL of the rest of your latest diatribe. I’ll leave it to you to worry about how much more blathering I did read, though it’s probably more than you’ll assume I read.

      3. avatar Steve says:

        The problem is he made the determination based on nothing more than a description on his transaction records. That description has no direct connection to any particular account either at a bank or in NRA accounting. It’s merely a description primarily intended to provide enough information on a transaction so the cardholder can recognize it. If he wants to prove what it said on his statement OK. If he wants to prove what account money actually went in to, or how it was treated in NRA’s accounting, he’s not even remotely close. This is fairly pitiful investigative reporting.

    3. avatar Steve says:

      “No mention of how he allegedly tracked his personal donations.”

      People keep saying this. In the original article on yahoo he goes into detail and indicates he tracked them through what appeared on his statement which he verified with his bank. Of course what appeared on the statement may or may not match the account where the money actually went and he may or may not have actually made the donation as he claimed he did.

  15. avatar pwrserge says:

    Obvious sock puppet defamation is obvious. The NRA should sue him and his organization into poverty.

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      His organization is Yahoo. They’ve been in poverty for years already.

      1. avatar Mr Pierogie says:

        I knew to stay away from Yahoo when back in 1999 they paid Mark Cuban et al. $5.7 billion for broadcast.com. Total waste of money. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadcast.com

        In comparison, Google bought Android in 2005 for $50 million. Now that’s how you invest.

  16. avatar Chris says:

    Look at the Yahoo authors history. There is no scandal, no shell game, no problems. This is 100% fabrication and hit piece. Do any of you for a moment think Yahoo does serious investigations. Name one, better yet name one they did on a democrat. I am seriously annoyed that Robert Farago didn’t’ spend any time researching this author before posting his article. Really tired of reading some of the stuff on this site. Put some friggin effort into it Robert.

    1. avatar AllAmerican says:

      Thank you. + an infinite amount of intellegence points.

    2. avatar chuck (hates nj) says:

      Yahoo did some serious investigating into the illegal activities of the NRA it must of taken months for this sting to pan Out. It’s super difficult to check your visa card statement for where your donation was processed. I don’t think I’m capable of performing such an in depth investigation.

    3. avatar Mister Fleas says:

      +1

      Alan Berlow has been writing gun grabbing articles for years. If he said “the sky is blue today”, his quote should be checked out. Why is Farago taking this guy seriously?

  17. avatar Bob says:

    Just exactly how did this hack writer Alan Berlow manage to “track” each dollar in his donations? This sounds like total BS to me.

    By the way, he also authored an article on concealed carry “How Utah became America’s gun permit mill—and other surprising, terrifying absurdities from the fight over firearms” in Politico online magazine.

    1. avatar Steve says:

      “Just exactly how did this hack writer Alan Berlow manage to “track” each dollar in his donations?”

      He checked his statement and looked at the transaction description. He then got a rubber stamp put on it by verifying that his bank, which provided said statement in the first place, agreed with the description on the statement, which, likely they would since they have no other info than what they already put on his statement in the first place. Of course none of this ties the description to any particular account either at a financial institution or in NRA internal accounting.

  18. avatar Mad Max says:

    I give hundreds of dollars each year to the NRA, NRA-ILA, and NRA-PVF and I can’t keep track of which dollar went where.

    I’d like to know how to find this out from the NRA 🙂

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      I’d bet (zero knowledge) that any donation to “NRA” is divvied up as management likes among all things NRA, while donations to, for example, “NRA-ILA” are delivered directly to that arm. How the author would know that something different happened, he neglected to mention.

    2. avatar Steve says:

      Have you asked them? It probably goes to where you donated it. Just because a description on a credit card statement doesn’t match the site you donated on doesn’t mean the money didn’t go into the correct account. There is no direct connection between the description on a statement and where the money ends up. In a perfect world the description would always be right. When you find a perfect world, let me know.

  19. avatar Bob108 says:

    My limited experience with the NRA tells me they do not use the restroom without a lawyer telling them it is legal. But, it would not surprise me if the fed goes after the NRA. We have become a country of men, not laws, where men (progressive men) can change the meaning of a law or selectively enforce laws to silence opposition. We have all seen this shift over the last 6 years, so it stands to reason that it is only going to get worse.

    1. avatar Stinkeye says:

      “Progressive men”? I don’t think that’s an actual thing. There are males who identify as “progressive”, but they generally aren’t “men”.

      1. avatar Bob108 says:

        Good Point!

  20. avatar Richard Cox says:

    Considering the source, and knowing the way the MSM operates, my first inclination is to suspect a smear campaign here. And that is not without precedent at all these days.

  21. avatar Tommy Kocker says:

    Hey I would like be assured that various governments I contribute to 1000x more than I do to the NRA is spending my damn money the way I want !

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      No lie! The gubt’s hand was in my pocket for over 11 grand last year. I have NEVER agreed to giving away free stuff to buy votes for politicians, I demand the gubt prove to me that not one dollar of my taxes was so wasted. As in, “prove”!

      1. avatar Phil LA says:

        Instead of proving they didn’t waste one dollar, I submit that they prove they wisely spent one dollar.

  22. avatar mark_anthony_78 says:

    OK Alan… take your two dollars back. I’ll send in a couple to replace them.

  23. avatar Garrison Hall says:

    In an increasingly politicized society, everything is potentially illegal. It wasn’t always this way but, in recent years, unelected bureaucrats have weaponized public policy to such an extent that anybody or anything can be charged with a crime. This has given rise to the practice of “sue and settle tactics where activists collude with bureaucratic allies to target “enemy” individuals and organization. Need to get the stiff-necked Bundy’s off their ranch? Get an environmentalist group to file a friendly suit with the BLM to save a turtle.

    Although I support the NRA, it is the dowager empress of gun-rights organization and, as such, is prone to the kinds of complacency and hubris that decades of success breeds like a flu-virus. I hope I’m right in saying that the NRA is way too sophisticated to ever allow itself to do the kind of dumb stuff to get itself into serious trouble. This charge sounds like a shuck-and-jive to me, but we’ll have to see what develops.

  24. avatar dwb says:

    Please Google his other pieces at Salon (http://www.salon.com/writer/alan_berlow/):

    Big money arms the NRA – May 2013
    Held hostage by NRA paranoia – Dec 2012
    NRA’s phony gun control – Jul, 2012
    NRA’s doomsaying sham – Jul, 2012
    NRA: A lobby for criminals – Jul 2012

    (H/T: MSI).

    You be the judge why he made the donation in Jul, and waited until 9 months to write the story, given that the evidence is now gone.

    There is a lot of assuming going on here between the lines. Also, the NRA hires well paid lawyers to ensure donations follow laws (note their “uniform” disclosure pdf).

    You be the judge whether this piece rises above Rolling Stone journalistic standards.

  25. avatar Spectre_USA says:

    I think it is just Yahoo! trying to regain credibility in a Google world.

    The attempt started with the hiring of Katie (Yawn!) Couric a year or so ago.

    The NRA is an awfully big target for someone trying to make a name for themselves…

  26. avatar vv ind says:

    Did he use Track my dollar . Com?

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      No, he used Yahoo.com which is synonymous with “makecrapupandhopepeoplearetoolazytothinkforthemselvesandfigureoutimlying.com”

  27. avatar Another Robert says:

    Dollars are fungible. Unless there is a set percentage of each and every contribution going to each particular division, I don’t see how anyone can know where “his” dollar went.

  28. avatar LJM says:

    I find it HIGHLY unlikely that a donor, giving say $3-5 dollars at a time would get personal knowledge and credible evidence on “where” his money was going. I’m calling complete and utter BS. This is a fishing expedition by a reporter trying to game an angle for some liberal States Attorney to get real documentation. If this guy had any real evidence, he would have published it.

    And the NRA knowing the IRS and FEC would be up their backside on any improprieties damm well have their crap in order.

  29. avatar General Zod says:

    “And because of the way the NRA has structured its PAC, any state attorney general with an interest in investigating these apparent violations would have authority to subpoena all relevant NRA records dealing with its nationwide fundraising operations.”

    And yet, no state attorney general has, not even from states like California, New York and New Jersey. How interesting that experienced attorneys have missed these crimes when this clearly over-qualified hack “journalist” says it’s right there in front of their faces! Amazing!

  30. avatar Burley Ole'Bear says:

    witch hunt. Much like how the current establishment can get away with murder, the current watchdogs can’t continue to operate. This’ll go wrong quickly. Remember our media’s tendency to say things like “False, but true”.

  31. avatar blahpony says:

    I sent the NRA some money and they sent me a nice picture of what I bought for them. It was 6 staplers, a bottle of toner for their copier, and 4 reams of paper. It included a handwritten letter of thanks from Eddie Eagle.

    /sarcasm

  32. avatar Bob says:

    Here is how he “tracked” the money:

    By reading his complete article, you will see his claim that he donated $1 by credit card to the NRA ILA, but his credit card statement showed $1 going to the NRA Political Victory Fund.

    More likely, he made a donation to both, so he could then make the false claim. Given his writing history, it’s highly probable.

    “Figures don’t lie, but liars do figure”.

  33. avatar Xanthro says:

    The author Berlow is a well known anti-gun moron. He has no background in election law, and literally has no idea what he is talking about in this article.
    I do know election law, and this article is nothing more than an ignorant person taking sections of election law that do not apply to the NRA and pretending it does.
    For example, if you go to the link https://www.nrapvf.org/ you’ll notice that you can’t actually make a donation unless you sign in. That’s because the donation is limited by law to restricted class, which are members. Websites must require a login, and meetings that have fund raising must have signs that state only members may donate.
    An overview of the law may be found here.
    http://www.fec.gov/info/conference_materials/2012/miami12_ssf_pt2.pdf
    Notice the author makes no mention of exactly how he donated $1 here and $1 there. That’s because what he did is take advantage of the local gun store rounding efforts where if you buy something you can round up to the nearest dollar.
    This type of donation is not actually coming from the person, it’s coming from the store. The customer gives the money to the store, but the store is the actual entity making the donation.
    Even if the store gives to the political victory fund, they are in the membership class.

  34. avatar Sertorius says:

    According to the article, he made a $1 donation to the NRA-ILA but it showed up on his visa statement as the Political Victory Fund. He admits that right below the donate button, it said “Contributions to NRA-PVF are not deductible as charitable contributions for Federal income tax purposes.”

    This doesn’t sound like much. Maybe the NRA has some poorly designed sections on its websites. I don’t think there is much of a story here. The best he can muster is some former IRS guy saying the IRS “might look into” this sort of situation.

  35. avatar Paul R says:

    This is the piece of the article that explains the problem. Basically the NRA gives money to a PAC. This money comes from donations which are also used for other things but the law states that you must be informed the money will be given to a PAC. Doesn’t matter if you are happy for that to happen or not you need to be told. The other big problem is that these donations are open to the general public. A member organisation may not solicit the general public for political donations, i.e. the donations must only be accessible in a members only section.

    From the article:
    If a private citizen says he’s raising money for a cancer charity and deposits the money into his personal bank account, he can be prosecuted for committing a fraud. Similarly, under federal election law, corporations like the NRA that set up what are known as “connected PACs” must inform potential donors if a PAC is the intended beneficiary of a solicitation. The NRA can’t claim to be raising money for the corporation — to finance such things as its lobbying or research initiatives — and then deposit that money into the account of its PAC. But that’s precisely what the NRA did when it solicited my contributions.

    The NRA also appears to have violated a federal law that bars soliciting for a connected PAC from anyone other than the group’s employees or members — what the law calls its “restricted class.” And the NRA appears to have violated another provision that says Internet solicitations must be at websites that are accessible only to members (the restricted class), not the general public

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Who in the world dreamed up such BS laws? And why? Oh, yeah, I remember now, these laws were specifically designed, drafted and passed to defang the NRA. Not secretly, but right out there, after NRA targeting threw a bunch of bums out, I seem to recall in 1994. An entire law specifically aimed at a single organization by a bunch of whiners, who knew they were targeted as well, for their support of the AWB. Now, and more and more, it is apparent how contrived and vicious they are, how stupid it was to pass them. I seem to recall some lefties being caught by them too, indignant that they had to comply with the same rules as the NRA. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong.

  36. avatar Bob says:

    Here’s an idea…..

    Test it yourself. DONATE TO THE NRA! Then see where the money goes.

    Repeat as needed.

    1. avatar Clark says:

      Great Idea…done…you can also join or renew through a link I got with my last Ruger. Memberships are discounted a bit.. http://www.nra.org/ruger

  37. avatar Anon in CT says:

    When the start auditing big unions on these issues I will give a sh*t. Until then it just looks like further political weaponization of the IRS and FEC by the Dems.

  38. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    There are so many powerful people who would love to take the NRA down, If the organization was not properly handling and reporting donated funds, they would have been strung up long ago. I don’t believe for a moment that Mr. Berlow is the first person to try to find some dirt.

    This is all a pile of rubbish.

  39. avatar Ragnar says:

    How do you track a dollar once you donate it?

    1. avatar JR_in_NC says:

      Email Wayne and say “Pretty please, will you check to see where MY single one dollar donation went within your organization”?

      That makes about as much sense as getting one’s panties twisted over a cc statement.

  40. avatar DerryM says:

    Every contribution to the NRA I have ever made stated clearly “Not Tax Deductible”. It has been my understanding the NRA-ILA and PVF are specific donations to their Legislative and Political activities, while general contributions to “NRA” (also not Tax Deductible) can be used where needed, including the NRA-ILA and PVF.
    IF the NRA is playing funny games with contribution money, I would be very surprised. If this guy, Berlow, is a brazen liar, I would not be surprised. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see….

  41. avatar Phil LA says:

    Hillary Clinton takes foreign money and uses personal email accounts for official business. Don’t forget.

  42. avatar Texsylvanian says:

    The NRA has an army of lawyers and I am pretty certain they have their affairs wired down tight. This sounds like just another BS hit piece against the NRA. If the NRA were flagrantly violating laws then the administration, who despises the RKBA and the NRA ideologically, would have seized on that to crush them a long time ago. I also feel confident that they would have done so without needing help from some joker at yahoo news.

    So until there is actual movement on this, I place it in the same category as the moon landing denial crowd.

  43. avatar Pascal says:

    The NRA has know for a long time it has a target on its back, I pretty sure they are mindful that someone on the Left is always gunning for them. I willing to bet they prepare for audits of all kinds because they know there is someone always watching.

    The whole point of that article is to force an investigation. This could turn out like the Rolling Stones Gang Rape article, all BS. All we have for evidence is the company listed who processed the credit card and nothing more. If you look at your CC statements you will many different company names listed other than whom you purchased from for no other reason many organization use a single CC processor to keep CC processing fees down.

    The entire article is a fishing expedition hoping to haul in some far Left AG who has nothing better to do.

    it is all FUD as far as I concerned not news worthy unless there is actual evidence.

    Hey, this story could have been written at anytime, nobody is at all suspicious that is coming at the start of the Presidential Election Cycle?

    1. avatar Roscoe says:

      And it wouldn’t be even a bit beyond this devious politically motivated administration to accommodate. All it would take is an accusation and a publicly announced ‘investigation’ for the media condemnations and assignment of ‘guilt’ to be set in stone.

      Remember Harry Reid’s assertion that Mitt Romney didn’t pay taxes for the past 10 years? No investigation even needed.

  44. avatar Heartland Patriot says:

    “…misleading and inaccurate…”? No, its a leftist hit piece. Anyone who buys that bullmanure is either complicit with left wing politics, has an axe to grind against the NRA, or is an utter moron.

  45. avatar bolero says:

    Kind of late to post and didn’t read all responses.

    When you pay your $35 to join, it can’t go to political causes, it goes to your mag scrip, member benefits, Eddie Eagle, etc.

    When you specifically donate to ILA (Institute for Legislative Action), its political, and OK by election law. And the NRA gets to decide where your $ goes.

  46. avatar Chris T from KY says:

    I understand that anti gun civil rights news organizations will do these kinds of stories. First they hit a big national “whale”. Then they will go after all the “small” fish state civil rights groups. The 1st amendment crowd is against freedom.

  47. avatar JT says:

    He admits partway through the article (after you have to click a button to read more) that the donation he says went to the NRA-PVF (he showed where on his credit card statement it said it went to the NRA-PVF) was made on the NRA-ILA website. I used web.archive.org and discovered that until sometime in August of 2014 the NRA-ILA and NRA-PVF shared a donation page, which seemed to end when the NRA-PVF page was given a face-lift. Prior to a change in either late April or early May, the text under the “submit donation” button read the following.

    “Contributions to NRA-ILA are not deductible as charitable contributions for Federal income tax purposes.”

    After the April/May change, and until sometime in August, it read the following, before reverting back to the prior message.

    “Contributions to NRA-PVF are not deductible as charitable contributions for Federal income tax purposes.

    The National Rifle Association of America (NRA) is a New York not for profit corporation, incorporated on November 12, 1871, and having its principal place of business at 11250 Waples Mill Road, Fairfax, Virginia 22030. The NRA Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF) is an independent division within NRA which was formed for the purpose of assisting pro-gun candidates for office, in accordance with the policies established by the Board of Directors. ”

    So contrary to his argument, they made it known where the money was going to be going until the NRA-PVF got it’s own donation page. The only thing they could possibly get in trouble for is that for those few months prior to the NRA-PVF website revamp, people other than NRA members could donate to the NRA-PVF (after the revamp you have been required to enter your member ID before donating). You also have to remember that the NRA-PVF has been around almost as long as the NRA-ILA and both were created decades before the Citizens United ruling. There have likely been numerous changes to how they are structured and were possibly the same legal entity for most of their existence, with them only being separated before last years elections.

  48. avatar JWM says:

    First off. If the NRA was as dirty and underhanded as this fellow tries to make it seem you don’t think the Clinton or Obama justice department wouldn’t have already swatted them? I call BS.

    But this fellow did point out a crime against the freedoms we all love. The NRA operates on 250 million bucks a year? With over a hundred million gun owners in America and the best we can come up with is 250 million? In a battle againt Bloomberg, Soros and the UN that’s the best we can do?

    In modern America it would seem the 3%ers are the NRA members. All the rest are free loaders.

  49. avatar Alan Longnecker says:

    Every begging letter I get from the NRA states that they will use the money to fight legislation designed to infringe on rights. My understanding is that they use the money to support the elections of pro-gun politicians, circulate petitions, buy hookers and blow for congress people. How are they misleading me?

    1. avatar int19h says:

      Pay attention to what the letter is actually from. It may have the NRA logo, but NRA, NRA-PVF and NRA-ILA are all separate orgs for this exact reason.

  50. avatar Dennis says:

    Thank you for your donations, however small.

  51. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    Yahoo “news”? If you just read the article! I look at Yahoo for entertainment. And the NRA can spend my meager$ however they see fit. Does Yahoo ever “investigate” criminals like the hildebeast?

  52. avatar Esemwy says:

    Ever buy something on line from a smaller vendor? They usually tell you that BIGGERCO-INC will show up on your CC bill. It’s likely, as others have mentioned, that the PVF is just doing much the same for the NRA in general.

    Also, an organization taking donations has no obligation to keep separate accounts for money you give them for a particular purpose. They just need to track it in their accounting, which this “investigative reporter” clearly has no access to.

    When we count the offering in my church, we tally up all the different funds (general, missions, deacons fund, etc), then put it all in the same bank account. It doesn’t matter so much how you keep the funds, it’s how you spend it that matters. The reporter doesn’t and can’t know how they’ve spent his particular donation, because by the time it’s spent, it’s just “dollars and cents,” not “the donation from Alan Berlow for Yahoo News.”

    The headline here should be “Yahoo Reporter Makes Up Stuff About NRA.”

  53. avatar foodog says:

    Yahoo news article from an author with a long history of anti-gun writing.

    I’ll believe in the IRS’ and FEC’s honor and integrity when they have finished investigating Bloombergs multiple morphings of MAIG-MDA-Everytown. Or all the GunSense.orgs that have sprouted “independently”, with the same site hosting and look and PR pro bono donors behind Evolve, etc.

    Or look into where the foreign money came from to the Clinton Foundation, while HRC was Sec State.

    Or where all that illegal foreign money came from to Obama in 2012, when strangely enough the Google Geeks couldnt turn that option to “info required” on VISA pay, vs Romney’s campaign, which oddly enough, could and did master the technology to obey the law.

    1. avatar foodog says:

      this is an example of a planted piece, that can be bounced around the various echo-chambers and then “traded up the chain” as news to a major site, for credibility. Watch how long it takes to get to WAPO or NYT.

      Many times they are commissioned from independent writers for that specific purpose at a particular time. Anyone doubt why a hit-piece is being generated right now, as Bloomturd is forced to back his demonization and threat to destroy the NRA? While Obama is leaking to favored news sources, that Executive Action is pending in the wings, like ATF ammo grabs, other state progtards floating legislation?

      Read “Trust Me I’m Lying” by Ryan Halliday. Its faux news. For clicks and views and revenue.
      The way to fight it is call it out with facts, to “punch back twice as hard”, and spread the word, to other anti-gun and pro-freedom forums, and moderate news outlets- to give independent thinkers a place to come back for those proofs about the truth.

      Its free publicity- the more the anti-gunners whip up the frenzy, the more attention from middle of the road news readers, who want the other side of the story. And its working- see Pew Research and gun dealers record sales, along with NRA second biggest annual meeting. That is not fake news- those are sum totals of all the middle of the road news consumers changing their mind, having gotten the truth from someplace other than the Reliable Party Organs, or the Talking Points Media, or the fake ‘splainers like Vox and PuffHos.

      Keep up the good work RF.

  54. avatar ghost says:

    First, it’s a “Yahoo News Investigation”? A hub of socialist doctrine. Yeah, right.

  55. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    And an addendum:O’reilly just blasted Yahoo as the worst of the worst “news”outlets. Hilarious…

  56. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    He’s a well known anti-gun loon, and has an axe to grind on the NRA:

    http://www.salon.com/2012/07/23/nra_a_lobby_for_criminals/

    He’s written for Salon, the Atlantic, Mother Jones, you name it. His CV is a litany of left-wing screed sheets.

    OK, here’s homework for people: Find this guy’s address, email, etc. Out him. Drag him out into the light.

    1. avatar int19h says:

      >> OK, here’s homework for people: Find this guy’s address, email, etc. Out him. Drag him out into the light.

      Are you promoting stalking and harassment?

      1. avatar Allen says:

        Is this a game to you? It isn’t to them.

        1. avatar int19h says:

          Really? Why don’t you place a bounty on his head while you’re at it?

  57. avatar Charles says:

    Just remember that the NRA-ILA has been the big bad boogie monster in campaign money since they helped to take down Tom Foley in 1994. Every time you hear a left wing person talk of campaign finance reform they are thinking about the evil that is the NRA and thier spending against good little Democratic warriors. Every time you hear them rally about a “special interest” it’s a dog whistle code word for the NRA.

    So it is no suprise to see various reporters talk of taking on the money in elections and see them target the NRA. Given how political the IRS became after the TEA Party types rose up post the ACA fight. It wouldn’t suprise me the least to see the IRS go full tilt towards this and probably audit everyone who has given them a dime even if they didn’t claim that donation in the tax forms. Why, because the NRA is evil and speech against the government is evil and those that do need to be punished.

  58. avatar Ace says:

    I have been a life member of the NRA since I was 16.
    They are not “innocent” in all that they do, and they have certainly had some missteps in the past, but the fact still remains:
    IF YOU OWN FIREARMS, YOU NEED TO BE A MEMBER IF THE NRA.

    Forget the free insurance.
    Forget about the magazines and information they send to millions.
    Forget about the competitions that they sponsor, oversee, and promote.
    Forget all of the instructors and range officers they certify.

    These are only a small portion of the many, many things that the NRA does.

    You need to be a member of the NRA because they are our champion.
    They are the ones that prevent the anti-gunners from taking our freedom to keep and bear arms.
    They fight the legal battles.
    Without the NRA Bill Clinton would have taken more than he did.
    Without the NRA we would have had “President Al Gore.”
    Ponder that.
    The EPA regulations alone would have killed it all.
    Without the NRA we would have also had a “President Kerry.”

    No, the NRA is not perfect… But they have our back.

    1. avatar MarkPA says:

      “. . . the NRA is not perfect… But they have our back.” Agreed on both points; albeit, I’d probably put it differently.

      For better or for worse, the NRA is OUR organization. If-and-to-the-extent that it isn’t doing what we want it to do the place to fix it is WITHIN the organization. (Standing outside and bitching is to neuter oneself.) Become a life member or accumulate 5 years of continuous membership and vote. They don’t make it easy to have an impact; but it is possible to vote-in board candidates who are not recommended by NRA insiders. It may take decades to have an impact but we must start now and work toward a goal.

      The admonishment to join the NRA is NOT to the EXCLUSION of joining and supporting OTHER organizations. Pay NRA dues of $35/yr and pay XYZ dues of $50/yr. Growth in membership and revenue at XYZ will have an enormous impact on NRA. If XYZ’s membership and revenues are growing faster than NRA’s then NRA will strive to compete successfully with XYZ.

      It will be a long time before any secondary gun group – “XYZ” – becomes as influential in Washington as the NRA is today. We PotG should treasure what NRA has been able to build: i.e., perhaps THE most influential lobbying group in Washington. NRA’s clout buys guns a lot of protection against bad laws; we dare not lose that.

      The collective gun lobby (NRA + XYZ + QRS, etc.) needs to muster its forces at the grass roots to make advancements in legislative bodies (DC and States). What does this mean in practice? Each one of us needs to both listen-to and speak-to our existing gun organizations: CCRKBA; GOA; NAGR; NRA; SAF; XYZ; and State organizations. Which 1/2/3 of these organizations strikes “me” as having the “best” strategy? Support that(those) organization(s) that resonate with your sentiments with: dues; donations; participation; advocacy. And VOTE for highly-rated candidates in Federal and State elections.

    2. avatar BlueBronco says:

      I figure that so-called 2A people that attack the NRA are playing into the hands of the Saul Alinsky leftists.

      1. avatar MarkPA says:

        Good point. We PotG are just as much a house-divided as we are unified by a common interest. The Antis are probably only too delighted that PotG are as divided as we are.

        Diversity of opinion is something we ought to encourage; different opinions help to strengthen our thinking, tactics and strategy. As one example: I’m very disheartened by ad hominem attacks on Alan Gura of SAF and CCRKBA on account of his advocacy of some form of UBC. It seems to me that there are three possible outcomes:
        – PotG SUCCEED in stoping every form of BC for non-dealer sales;
        – PotG FAIL to stop Bloomberg’s form of BC for non-dealer sales; or,
        – someone such as Alan Gura designs and gets passed a BC for non-dealer sales that we can live with.

        Those PotG who attack Alan Gura are betting the farm on SUCCESS in stopping Bloomberg. Is that REALLY the ONLY tactic worthy of discussion? Or, is it the tactic that Bloomberg wants us to choose?

        1. avatar BlueBronco says:

          Bloomberg’s best hope is to get the various groups in a serious feud and attack each other.

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