The gun community continues to react to news of a deal made by Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms to carve out an exemption from a state licensing scheme (SB-1657). Both Springfield and Rock River Arms have issued statements denying any knowledge of the deal negotiated on their behalf by the lobbyist for the Illinois Firearms Manufacturing Association (IFMA). An organization funded by Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms.
We can now reveal that Springfield and Rock River have, through IFMA, donated tens of thousands of dollars to Illinois anti-gun politicians over the last several years.
In 2012, IFMA wrote a check for $10,000 to Illinois Senate President John Cullerton‘s campaign fund. The NRA-PVF F-rated Cullerton has stood in the way of pro-gun rights legislation in Illinois for years. He refuses to allow pro-gun rights bills to receive a committee hearing, much less an up-or-down vote on the Senate floor.
The above is from page 8 of the IFMA 2012 IRS Form 990. A search of the Illinois State Board of Elections’ comprehensive list of IFMA political donations reveals no record of that check. Violations of the Illinois Election code are punishable by criminal and civil penalties.
IFMA also donated $1,000 to the Illinois Senate Democratic Victory Fund. That expenditure failed to appear on IFMA’s Federal Form 990 for the year.
IFMA’s $50,000 payment to J Alexander Hunt, Inc. — listed in the 2012 Form 990 — also caught our eye. IFMA’s lobbyist Jay Keller does business under the name J Alexander Hunt, Inc. The company shares a post office box address with IFMA.
Searching for J Alexander Hunt’s political donations at IllinoisSunshine.org reveals that J Alexander Hunt also donated $10,000 to Citizens for John Cullerton. Which means IFMA and J Alexander Hunt combined contributed $20,000 to the Cullerton campaign’s war chest.
The money from Rock River Arms and Springfield Armory channeled through IFMA, however, failed to convince Cullerton to moderate his antipathy to gun rights. Not long after receiving the cash, Cullerton appeared at a gun control event.
Despite the failure of the 2012 contributions to further Second Amendment rights in the Land of Lincoln, the company employed by Springfield and Rock River Arms, J Alexander Hunt, Inc., made a $5,000 gift to Friends of Kwame Raoul, an NRA-PVF D-minus-rated state senator.
IFMA sent another $10,000 check to Citizens for John Cullerton, matching their 2012 contribution. Once again, our search of the Illinois State Board of Elections‘ records failed to show the donation.
IFMA dropped $2500 into NRA-PVF F-rated Illinois Senator Antonio Munoz “Citizens for Antonio Munoz” mailbox. That contribution isn’t found in our Illinois State Board of Elections (ISBE) search of IFMA campaign contributions. Neither is the $5,000 donation to Friends of Kwame Raoul. But it was reported on IFMA’s 2013 Form 990.
UPDATE: And then there’s another $10,000 donated in 2014 to the Senate Democratic Victory Fund from the 2014 IFMA Form 990. That’s not listed on our search of the Illinois State Board of Elections, either.
[Here are IFMA’s form 990s from 2011-2013, courtesy FoundationCenter.com: IFMA’s IRS Form 990 2011, IFMA’s IRS Form 990 2012, IFMA’s IRS Form 990 2013. Update: IFMA’s IRS Form 990 2014. IFMA’s IRS Form 990 2015. The Illinois State Board of Elections website is here.]
Clearly, Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms provided financial support to Illinois politicians who vigorously oppose Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms. The above are just two years’ worth of campaign contributions to those opposed to firearm rights for you and me.
While it could be argued that these payments gave the gunmakers’ IFMA lobbying group access to their “enemies,” there’s precious little to show for their contributions in terms of defending or extending Illinois residents’ gun rights. Whether or not Springfield and Rock River arms should have even made the attempt is a question both companies will soon face from both the industry and consumers.