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NRA National Rifle Association

National Media employees posing as Red Eagle Media, bought the NRA’s Senate ads; meanwhile National Media employees bought the Senate ads directly under the name American Media & Advocacy Group (AMAG)

 

OnMessage:2014:Thom Tillis, North Carolina; Cory Gardner,  Colorado; Tom Cotton, Arkansas (Other Clients: National Republican Senatorial Committee; the National Republican Congressional Committee) paid Starboard Strategic $19m in 2013 after Sandy Hook. Functionally the same company but opaque: Starboard Strategic: NRA’s Political Victory Fund $16.6 million in 2016; and its Institute for Legislative Action $23.4 million in 2016

1972 John Bolton interned for David Keene while he was working for Vice President Spiro Agnew, later provided key staff support for the RNC Miami fight against gun reform which was a precursor to Ronald Reagan’s 1976 campaign and 1980 win.

The World in Its Sights The NRA’s messianic quest to make the Second Amendment global. Foreign Policy BY   

2006 Wayne LaPierre, Executive Vice President and CEO of the NRA, wrote The Global War on Your Guns

“Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008.. Firearm and ammo sales spiked. Obama didn’t restore the Assault Weapons Ban. Rep. Gabrielle Giffords was shot in the head. But Obama made no moves whatsoever to restrict firearms. And yet the NRA still fears a sneak attack. That’s where its foreign policy comes in. Defeating the “global war on guns” means stopping Obama from making a U.N. end-run around American laws.

In 2011, new NRA president David Keeneformerly the head of the American Conservative Union — created a new international affairs subcommittee inside the group’s legislative policy committee. The man who’d run it: John Bolton. In office, during the Bush years, Bolton had earned icon status for heading to New York and warning the U.N. not to go after Americans’ guns. Now that he’s officially part of the NRA, Bolton adds ballast to the theory that Obama is slowly teeing up an international assault on the Second Amendment.

“He believes if he could get a second term, that’s that when the floodgates would open,” Bolton told the NRA’s in-house news network this year. “Then he has the agenda items like international gun control that he’s pushed very quietly.”  What does “pushing very quietly” mean? The United States is participating in small arms talks, but it’s starting with a defense of sovereignty. In his official statement to the conference, the administration’s negotiator, Donald Mahley, warned that “any attempt to include provisions in the treaty that would interfere with each state’s sovereign control over the domestic possession, use, or movement of arms is clearly outside the scope of our mandate.” He could have been reading from an NRA pamphlet.

The NRA sic has broadened its targets beyond state and federal legislation. Last month [June 2012], the organization elevated the Fast and Furious scandal when it “scored” Congress’s contempt resolution against Attorney General Eric Holder. (Vote for contempt, or fail your NRA vote-rate report card.) And, this month, the NRA’s lobbying and PR muscles have been squeezing the United Nations Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty, an attempt to establish common standards for the international sale of weapons, including so-called “small arms,” like assault rifles.

An international drug war debacle, an international agreement on weaponry — this is your introduction to the “global war on guns.” On one side: The NRA, whose executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre, identified the war and gave it a name. On the other side: Gun control NGOs and anyone who might favor an Arms Trade Treaty. The battles at home are largely won, so the NRA has turned toward laws outside the United States and global agreements that its home country might want to join.  …featured a pavement-rattling speech from LaPierre. On July 11, he appeared before the panel in New York to give a five-minute lecture about tyranny and the red-hot blood running through American veins…According to an on-the-scene Alexander Zaitchek, LaPierre immediately left the building to go on Fox News.

Its stated fear of a national gun registry in America doesn’t have anything to do with the negotiations — the treaty’s about international transfers. “They have three or four lobbyists here on any given day, and they’re working, but it’s on such a narrow issue. The United States already controls the trade of civilian and military weapons, so when it opposes this, the NRA is asking for a standard below the one that already exists.””

October 31-November 1, 2013 Maria Butina hosted David Keene as President of the NRA for her “Right to Arms” event. VIDEO HERE


Oliver North named new president of the NRA  CBS News 

“Lt. Colonel Oliver North, USMC (Ret.) will be the next president of the National Rifle Association of America, the NRA announced Monday. Former NRA president Pete Brownell announced this morning that he has decided not to seek election to another term as president so that he can devote his full energy and time to his family business. North, 74, first emerged into the spotlight in the 1980s for his role in the Iran-Contra scandal, involving the sale of weapons to Iran with proceeds being funneled to right-wing rebel groups in Nicaragua He has since run for office, written several books and is frequently on the speaking circuit.”


Documents Point to Illegal Campaign Coordination Between Trump and NRA. Trump and the gun group used the same consultants to spearhead their TV ad blitzes at the height of the 2016 election, likely in violation of federal law. BY Representatives of National Media, operating under the name Red Eagle Media, also bought ads on behalf of the NRA in support of some of the group’s preferred Senate candidates, and simultaneously bought ads for those Senate candidates while acting as a supposedly separate entity called American Media & Advocacy Group (AMAG). In at least 10 instances across the Missouri, Montana, and North Carolina races, FCC records show that ad purchases for both the NRA and the Senate campaigns were authorized by National Media’s chief financial officer, Jon Ferrell”


TRUMP CAMPAIGN 2020

Trump 2020 campaign used a shell company to pay ad buyers at the center of alleged illegal coordination scheme with NRA Open Secrets By December 19, 2018

“CRP’s analysis of Federal Communications Commission (FCC) records found that Trump campaign political ad disclosures on file with stations across the country have continued to include signatures and names of individuals working for National Media, despite no mention of National Media or its known affiliates on any FCC or Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosures. Those individual ad buyers’ names have simultaneously continued to be included in ad documents for the National Rifle Association (NRA) and America First, but with the ad buyers’ affiliation listed as National Media or one of its affiliates.

Common vendors are one of the factors federal regulators consider when determining if communications may constitute illegal coordination between a campaign and outside group.

Harris Sikes Media does not appear to have any contacts independent of National Media, and all of the individuals listed on FCC filings submitted by Harris Sikes Media have also been featured in filings by National Media or its affiliates.

But unlike Red Eagle Media Group and other National Media affiliates like AMAG — which share the same neighboring Alexandria addresses — incorporation records list Harris Sikes Media’s address as 11350 Random Hills Road, Suite 700, in Fairfax, Va., which houses multiple law offices and advertises options to rent virtual offices, coworking space and meeting rooms. The Trump campaign’s FEC disclosures reveal $214,319.92 in payments to Harris Sikes Media but list a slightly different address: Suite 700 at 11350 Random Hills Road in Alexandria. There is no Random Hills Road in Alexandria.

One FCC filing lists Harris Sikes Media’s address as 817 Slaters Lane in Arlington, an address even closer to the location that houses National Media and its other affiliates, without any mention of them by name. There is no Slaters Lane in Arlington.

Harris Sikes Media’s registered agent is Joel L. Dahnke, an attorney who is also the registered agent for National Media Group LLC, National Media Research Planning and Placement, LLC and National Media President Robin Roberts’ firm.”


NRA Goes International in Its Mission to Defend Guns The American lobby forges ties in Australia, Brazil, and Russia. Bloomberg January 3, 2019  By Neil Weinberg,Polly Mosendz, and Bill Allison

Brazilian President Jair “Bolsonaro made gun rights one of the main planks in his campaign platform, liberally salting his speeches with NRA talking points: “Guns are our guarantee of freedom,” he said during an event in the southern city of Curitiba last March. “The only way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” his son Carlos posted on Facebook.In 2013 it stood with Iran, North Korea, and Syria in objecting to an arms trade treaty in the United Nations. The following year it slammed the U.S. Treasury Department for including Kalashnikov Concern, maker of the iconic AK-47, among companies sanctioned in response to the Russian Federation’s aggression in Ukraine. Brazil’s Forjas Taurus, which generates 80 percent of its firearms revenue in the U.S., treats its U.S. gun buyers to an annual NRA membership, a $35 value. Belgian arms manufacturer FN Herstal and its U.S. sales subsidiary, FNH USA LLC, donated $100,000 to $200,000 to the NRA in 2013, according to the Violence Policy Center, a nonprofit dedicated to reducing gun deaths. Ugo Gussalli Beretta, an executive of the Italian gunmaker Beretta, pledged $1 million to the NRA on behalf of the company in 2008, a gift that entitled him to membership in the Golden Ring of Freedom program, open to those who donate $1 million or more; Josh Dorsey, corporate vice president of Austria’s Glock, was inducted in 2017. A video Glock produced to celebrate the occasion shows images of Glock craftsmen building pistols and police officers carrying them, before cutting to NRA Executive Vice President Wayne LaPierre addressing a cheering crowd, while a narrator asks, “Why would you not give as much as you can to support the NRA?”

In March 2000 the Clinton administration announced it had reached an “historic agreement” with Smith & Wesson, one of the nation’s oldest and most popular gunmakers. Under the terms of the deal, the manufacturer would add safety devices to handguns, develop smart guns that wouldn’t fire without the owner’s fingerprint, test firearms through the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and sell guns only to authorized distributors. In return, the government agreed to settle some lawsuits pending against the company, though the settlement never materialized. After laying out a record $55.6 million in the 2016 election, including $30 million to support Trump, it put only $10 million into supporting or opposing candidates in November’s midterms. The most significant was the December 2012 shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., which left 26 people dead, including 20 students under age 8. (The gunman also killed his mother.) The next year, NRA member dues reached a 10-year high of $175.6 million.”


Truncated, read full article with visual documents: Documents Show NRA and GOP Candidates Coordinated Ads in Key Senate Races  The Trace.The same media consultant purchased ads for the NRA and for Senate candidates in the Missouri, Montana, and North Carolina races. BY AND January 11, 2019 The Trace and Mother Jones have teamed up to further investigate the NRA’s finances and political activity.

“The National Rifle Association appears to have illegally coordinated its political advertising with Republican candidates in at least three recent high-profile Senate races, according to Federal Communications Commission records. In Senate races in Missouri and Montana in 2018, and North Carolina in 2016, the gun group’s advertising blitzes on behalf of GOP candidates Josh Hawley, Matt Rosendale, and Richard Burr were authorized by the very same media consultancy that the candidates themselves used — an apparent violation of laws designed to prevent independent groups from synchronizing their efforts with political campaigns.

In December, The Trace and Mother Jones reported on a similar pattern of coordination between the NRA and Donald Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. In that case, Trump and the NRA hired affiliates of the same company — National Media Research, Planning and Placement — to direct their ad spending. Employees of that firm, operating under different corporate identities, placed ads for both Trump and the NRA on television stations across the country, with the apparent goal of reinforcing each other’s message.

Representatives of National Media, operating under the name Red Eagle Media, also bought ads on behalf of the NRA in support of some of the group’s preferred Senate candidates, and simultaneously bought ads for those Senate candidates while acting as a supposedly separate entity called American Media & Advocacy Group (AMAG). In at least 10 instances across the Missouri, Montana, and North Carolina races, FCC records show that ad purchases for both the NRA and the Senate campaigns were authorized by National Media’s chief financial officer, Jon Ferrell.

In the Missouri race, in which state Attorney General Josh Hawley unseated Democratic incumbent Claire McCaskill, the NRA flooded local TV stations with ads supportive of Hawley in the month before the election. On the CBS affiliate KOAM, which serves the southwest part of the state, the NRA paid for almost 70 ads that aired during the first half of October.

FCC records show that those ads were purchased on the NRA’s behalf by Red Eagle Media — which, according to corporate records, is just an “assumed or fictitious name” used by National Media.Just the day before, KOAM had received an order for ads from the Hawley campaign. The paperwork accompanying that order shows that the spots were purchased on Hawley’s behalf by AMAG, which has been described by its lawyer as a National Media affiliate. The paperwork is signed by Ferrell, with a handwritten addendum: “agent for Josh Hawley for Senate.”

The ads that Ferrell placed for the NRA closely align with the list of ads he authorized for the campaign. On October 5, for example, on KOAM’s morning show, an NRA ad about the Senate race ran at 6:39 a.m., and a Hawley campaign ad ran five minutes later. During “Wheel of Fortune,” a Hawley ad ran at 6:42 p.m., and an NRA ad supporting Hawley followed at 6:59.

A similar pattern played out in Montana, where Democratic Senator Jon Tester beat back a challenge from State Auditor Matt Rosendale, despite more than $500,000 in NRA spending on Rosendale’s behalf. Records show that Ferrell signed off on a Red Eagle order for NRA ads backing Rosendale on KULR, an NBC affiliate in Billings, on September 4th. One week later, on September 11, AMAG purchased a slate of ads on the same station on behalf of the Rosendale campaign. The paperwork is signed by Ferrell. As in the Missouri race, he added a handwritten addendum making clear that he was acting on the campaign’s behalf: “Jon Ferrell, agent for Matt Rosendale for Montana.” Those ads ran during many of the same shows that the NRA ads did, including airings of the talk show “Ellen.”

Back in 2016, when North Carolina Republican Richard Burr prevailed against Democratic challenger Deborah Ross, Burr employed National Media outright while the NRA used Red Eagle. As in the other races, Ferrell signed off on purchases for both sides. FCC paperwork filed by WECT, the NBC affiliate in Wilmington, shows Ferrell signing off on purchases for the Burr campaign on October 12, 24, and 27 and November 2 as an “agent for Richard Burr Committee.” At the same time, he authorized Red Eagle purchases on behalf of the NRA on September 19 and October 21.

National Media and Ferrell did not respond to requests for comment; neither did representatives for Hawley, Rosendale, or Burr. AMAG does not appear to have any employees or contacts independent of National Media.

The NRA’s use of National Media and its affiliates to coordinate with the Trump and Hawley campaigns is currently the focus of two complaints before the FEC by the Campaign Legal Center and the Giffords Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence. Although federal law prohibits such coordination, it’s rarely enforced as a practical matter. The FEC, which oversees elections, has been deadlocked along partisan lines for a decade. (FEC enforcement matters are confidential until resolved; it’s unclear if the NRA has formally responded to the complaints.)

The Trace identified at least four current or former National Media employees, including CFO Jon Ferrell, who are named in FCC filings as representatives of both the Trump campaign and the NRA during the final stretch of the 2016 presidential election.

The form filed with the Cleveland station on behalf of the NRA by Red Eagle in September 2016 lists a person named Kristy Kovatch as a point of contact. (An identical form that Red Eagle filed for the NRA with WCPO in Cincinnati also lists Kovatch.) Kovatch is a senior buyer for National Media, specializing in “television media buying for political candidates, issue/advocacy groups and public affairs clients.” According to her bio on the company’s web site, she’s been with the firm for 20 years.

Throughout the fall of 2016, Kovatch was also involved in ad purchases for Trump. Just three days before she was named in records as the contact for Red Eagle in Cleveland and Cincinnati, she appeared in the same role on an AMAG advertising request sheet filed for the Trump campaign with an NBC Telemundo station in Miami. FCC documents also list her as the AMAG buyer or contact for various other Florida stations.

Another National Media employee, Ben Angle, was identified in the 2018 bookInside Campaigns: Elections Through the Eyes of Political Professionals as an architect of Trump’s airwave strategy. “In mid-September,” the book says, “Angle and his boss were summoned to Trump Tower and told their firm would be placing all of the Trump campaign’s television advertising during the last seven weeks of the campaign.”

A fourth staffer whose name appears on both NRA and Trump campaign documents, Caroline Kowalski, left National Media in 2017. Her title was “media specialist,” according to her LinkedIn page. Within the span of one week in late October and early November 2016, she was listed as the Red Eagle contact for an NRA ad purchase in Cape Coral, Florida, and as the AMAG contact for a Trump campaign placement at a CBS station in Philadelphia.”

The Mystery Firm That Became the NRA’s Top Election ConsultantPOLITICO Mike Spies July 13, 2018 “Heading into the 2014 midterm elections, polls showed the Republican Party had an opportunity to retake control of the Senate. Such a change would severely limit President Barack Obama’s legislative agenda during his final two years in office, an outcome that was especially attractive to the National Rifle Association. In the wake of devastating events like the 2012 mass shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School, the president had become an aggressive promoter of new gun regulations.

To get its message out, the NRA turned to an unknown consulting firm, Starboard Strategic, paying it $19 million. More than a third of that money was invested in must-win Senate seats in Colorado, North Carolina and Arkansas — three of the most expensive in the country — paying for a host of television, radio and internet ads.”  Before 2013, Starboard Strategic had never appeared in Federal Election Commission reports. Someone curious about the firm would have found a skeletal website that listed no staff, clients, address, phone number or previous work. There was just some generic branding language (“Good advertising and good ground operations start with good strategy”) and a basic email address: info@starboardstrategicinc.com.

Well-established and well-connected, OnMessage is as transparent as Starboard is opaque. What the Federal Election Commission and the public do not know is that the two entities appear to be functionally one and the same.

In 2014, among OnMessage’s most prominent clients were three Republican challengers vying for Senate seats in the same races where the NRA would pay Starboard some of its biggest outlays of the cycle: Thom Tillis, in North Carolina; Cory Gardner, in Colorado; and Tom Cotton, in Arkansas. All of these candidates would defeat Democratic incumbents, cementing the result for which GOP leaders and the NRA had mobilized: a Republican majority in the upper chamber to match the one in the House. Each challenger paid OnMessage $5 million to $8 million, far more than they paid any other vendors.

Public records show the two entities share corporate officers and identical office addresses—one in Alexandria, Virginia, and the other in Annapolis, Maryland. Internal emails indicate executives toggled between roles for both firms. A former OnMessage employee who worked out of the Alexandria location in 2014 says Starboard had no separate dedicated presence there. “Beyond some Starboard-labeled thumb-drives lying around, I don’t recall anything within our office that was called or associated with Starboard,” said the former employee who requested anonymity to avoid retribution.

Two former FEC chairs, one Republican and the other Democrat, reviewed the findings of Politico Magazine and The Trace, and said they found them troubling. “This evidence raises substantial questions about whether OnMessage and Starboard Strategic were used as conduits for coordination between the NRA and the candidates it was supporting,” Trevor Potter, the Republican, said. “It’s pretty serious,” added Ann Ravel, the Democrat. “It doesn’t seem right.” Both former chairs independently came to the same conclusion: “The FEC should investigate.“

OnMessage was founded in 2005 by three veteran Republican operatives: Curtis and Wesley Anderson, who are brothers, and Bradley Todd. Later, they added three more partners—GOP strategists Timmy Teepell, Guy Harrison and Graham Shafer—and now have roughly a dozen employees. “If you want to talk about establishment Republican consulting firms, OnMessage is definitely one of the more prominent ones,” Rick Wilson, a GOP strategist, said.

Over the years, OnMessage has built an impressive roster of clients. In addition to Tillis, Gardner, Cotton, Johnson and Scott, the firm has worked with the National Republican Senatorial Committee; the National Republican Congressional Committee; the Republican National Committee; and former Senators Scott Brown and Thad Cochran, among many others. Another high-profile client has been the NRA.

Todd and the NRA’s top lobbyist, Chris Cox, both attended Rhodes College in Tennessee and graduated together in 1992. “They’re buddies,” said a former employee of Cox’s, who worked in the group’s lobbying wing, the Institute for Legislative Action (ILA). In 2010, the NRA for the first time listed OnMessage as a vendor in its FEC filings. That year, the gun rights group paid the firm about $3.19 million for its services, including the production of ads in support of Republican Senate candidates such as Roy Blunt and Patrick Toomey.

In January 2013, according to a website registration document, Wesley Anderson registered starboardstrategicinc.com. The document provides an address for the “admin contact” and the “tech contact,” which begins “OnMessage Inc. ATTN STARBOARDSTRATEGIC.COM.”…In the three big 2014 Senate races, all expenditures made to Starboard carried one of two addresses where OnMessage maintains workspace… Vicki Tomchik is OnMessage’s longtime chief financial officer; the job is the only one she lists on her LinkedIn page. But in 2014, when the former OnMessage employee received an email from Tomchik, there were two references below her signature. One was OnMessage, and the other was Starboard.

But an ad the NRA published online in the fall can be traced back to OnMessage by the former OnMessage employee. The ad tied Scott’s Democratic opponent, Charlie Crist, to Michael Bloomberg, and accused the candidate of supporting the former New York City mayor’s “gun control agenda.” (Bloomberg provides funding to Everytown for Gun Safety, whose 501c3 arm makes grants to The Trace.)

In 2016, the NRA’s federal election payments to Starboard ballooned to $40 million, a massive portion of the gun rights group’s total independent spending for the year, which came to almost $53 million. That cycle, when Johnson was defending his Wisconsin Senate seat for the first time, his campaign paid OnMessage almost $4 million. The payments stopped in August. Just over two months later, the NRA aided in the reelection effort, and tapped Starboard for nearly $200,000 in advertising.

The sum the NRA paid to Starboard in 2016 was split between the group’s Political Victory Fund and its Institute for Legislative Action. The transactions paid by the ILA accounted for roughly $23.4 million. Unlike the Victory Fund, a freestanding organization affiliated with the gun group, the ILA is a component of the NRA’s nonprofit corporation, which means its financial records are subject to oversight by the Internal Revenue Service. In the NRA’s tax filings, it is required to disclose its top five independent contractors for any given year, and that includes contractors retained by its divisions, such as the ILA. In 2016, Starboard was not included on the list, even though, based on what it received from ILA, it would have ranked as the NRA’s second highest-earning contractor.

On January 20, 2017, the day of Trump’s inauguration, Brad Todd wrote a blog post on OnMessage’s website. “When no other outside group on the Republican side of the aisle believed in this race, the NRA made its biggest investment in any Presidential election,” he wrote. “They went in early and they went in big.” Todd added, “OnMessage Inc. was proud to partner with the NRA and produce their ads in this election.”

A month later, OnMessage received a Reed Award for an NRA spot it had created the previous year. The category was “Best Ad For Independent Expenditure Campaign — Presidential,” and the winning entry features a woman in bed who is awoken by a burglar. In one hand she grips a phone, and with the other she opens a gun safe, which suddenly disappears before her eyes. “Don’t let Hillary leave you protected with nothing but a phone,” a narrator warns. Currently, the ad can be viewed on OnMessage’s website, by clicking the tab labeled “Our Work.”


Conservative Legal Interests Funneled $2.7 Million To NRA, Freedom Partners Around Gorsuch FightMapLight Andrew Perez |January 07, 2019

The Trump adviser, Leonard Leo, is the executive vice president at the Federalist Society, the influential conservative lawyers network in Washington, D.C. Leo has served as Trump’s judicial adviser and successfully shepherded both Gorsuch and Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh through their confirmations.

America Engaged, a Virginia nonprofit formed in 2016, is the latest dark money organization to spring up in the Federalist Society’s orbit since Trump was elected. Tax documents obtained by MapLight show Leo is the group’s president. While America Engaged has received scant attention, records show it donated $950,000 to the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action in 2017, as well as $700,000 to Freedom Partners Chamber of Commerce, the “secret bank” for billionaire libertarian activist Charles Koch.

The NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action announced in March 2017 that it would spend at least $1 million on television ads pressuring conservative Democrats to support Gorsuch. Freedom Partners released an online video touting Gorsuch’s qualifications and urging the Senate to confirm him. Concerned Veterans for America, another organization in the Koch network, made more than 500,000 phone calls and distributed direct mail in support of Gorsuch, according to the Washington Post.

In the past few years, Leo has been tied to the BH Group, a Virginia LLC that donated $1 million in anonymous cash to the Trump inaugural committee. Leo is also the president of the BH Fund, a nonprofit that was granted influence over academic matters at George Mason University’s law school as part of a large, anonymous donation to the school. The BH Fund donated $2.3 million to America Engaged in 2017, accounting for all but $100 of the money America Engaged raised.

The driving force for Trump’s two high court confirmations was the Judicial Crisis Network, a dark money organization that Leo effectively controls, according to the Daily Beast. JCN claims it spent $10 million to promote Gorsuch. The network contributed $1 million to the NRA between July 2016 and June 2017.

“It’s striking to see the abrupt change in course Leo seems to have taken when Trump was elected,” said Robert Maguire, the research director at Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington who was the first to discover Leo’s role in driving anonymous money to the Trump inaugural committee.”


The head of Florida’s school safety commission is reportedly feeding the NRA nonpublic information about the Parkland mass shooting The commission recently recommended arming teachers, a policy favored by the NRA Media Matters  TIMOTHY JOHNSON “National Rifle Association spokesperson Dana Loesch purported to share nonpublic information about the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School to bolster her argument that teachers should be armed. Loesch, who made the claim on her non-NRA affiliated radio show, said that she was given the information by Pinellas County Sheriff Bob Gualtieri, who chairs a Republican-appointed school safety commission created after the February 14 mass shooting in Parkland, FL.

The commission recently released a draft report that recommends arming teachers who receive training and undergo a background check. This finding is contrary to analyses by experts that conclude arming teachers would actually increase danger to teachers and students. A final report from the commission will be sent to Florida’s governor and state legislature by January 1.”


G. Kline Preston IV-Lawyer linking NRA and Russia helped lead Marsha Blackburn campaigns, documents show Kline Preston said he helped head Blackburn’s re-election efforts—while bringing NRA and Russian officials together. But as documents obtained by ThinkProgress reveal, Blackburn was far closer to Preston than has previously been reported. Preston not only listed himself as the “Campaign Finance Chairman” for Blackburn, but additionally worked for years as the president of Marsha Blackburn for Congress, Inc.

According to information now removed from his website, Preston says he served as president for Marsha Blackburn for Congress, Inc. through at least 2014, with official documents showing the work beginning in 2003. During the same time period, he also introduced Alexander Torshin, a now-sanctioned Russian official accused of mafia ties and massive money laundering in Europe, to then-NRA President David Keene. For good measure, documents filed show that Marsha Blackburn for Congress, Inc., also listed Blackburn’s husband as the registered agent, and listed Blackburn’s address as its own.”

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