You’ve heard of the National Rifle Association. But have you heard of the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation?
In an article on Thursday, The New York Times reported how the foundation helps connect representatives of the firearms industry with members of Congress, through events like shooting contests, banquets and wine tastings.
Much smaller and quieter than the NRA, the key to the foundation’s work is its relationship with the Congressional Sportsmen’s Caucus, which numbers more than 250 members of the House and Senate. On it’s website, the foundation explicitly refers to the “direct support” it has provided to the caucus.
“[N]o organization has access to so many elected officials and does more to advance sportsmen’s issues in the political arena than the Congressional Sportsmen’s Foundation,” the organization boasts.
The foundation provides the caucus with research on policies affecting hunting and fishing. But it also, according to the Times, “presses issues important mainly to the gun industry, which is one of its largest contributors.” Contributions to the foundation, which topped $2 million in 2011, have come from gunmakers like Remington and Winchester, retailers like Walmart, and other groups including the NRA, ExxonMobil, Amgen, and Altria. The foundation’s board, meanwhile, includes executives of Freedom Group, the country’s largest firearms company.
The Times also offered an overview of events held by the foundation over the past year. There was a “Wine, Wheels and Wildlife” fund-raiser at a North Carolina vineyard. A “Whiskies of the World” and cigar reception in Washington D.C. And a “Stars and Stripes Shootout” in Tampa, Fla. In written responses to questions from the newspaper, the foundation said its “focus while interacting with members of the caucus is to provide them with information and to educate them on issues of importance to sportsmen.”
Read the whole story here.
Eric Lach is a reporter for TPM. From 2010 to 2011, he was a news writer in charge of the website’s front page. He has previously written for The Daily, NewYorker.com, GlobalPost and other publications. He can be reached at ericl(at)talkingpointsmemo.com