All Politics is Local

No, the NRA hasn’t given $95,000 to Jaime Herrera Beutler (directly anyway)

There’s a rumor going around that Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, has received a total of $95,000 in contributions from the National Rifle Association.

The figure appears to be first reported by KIRO 7, a television news station based in Seattle.

That’s not quite right.

Herrera Beutler has received a total of $10,450 from the NRA’s official committee, National Rifle Association of America Political Victory Fund, since first running for office in 2010. The largest contribution was in 2010 when she received $4,950. She then received $500 in the 2010 general election, $2,000 in the 2012 primary election, $1,000 for both the primary and general elections in 2014 and $1,000 for the 2016 election. She has received no money since 2015 directly from the NRA.

It’s worth noting she’s also received a total of $3,500 from the National Shooting Sports Foundation and $2,000 from Safari Club International, both of which lobby for gun rights.

To be clear, we’re talking about direct contributions, as cited by KIRO. Indirect contributions are another animal entirely.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, she’s received contributions totaling $44,290 from PACs and individuals lobbying for gun rights. Looking at independent expenditures, Herrera Beutler benefited from $75,805 from the NRA in 2010 when she first ran for office, as well as an additional $9,043 from the NRA’s Institute for Legislative Action also in 2010. These contributions come in the form of funding for ads, mailers or advocating for or against a candidate. She hasn’t received any further funding in this category from the NRA.

When you add all indirect and direct contributions together, Herrera Beutler’s NRA contributions come to $95,298. The distinction is in differentiating between direct cash to her campaign and funding in all other forms of contributions. It’s an important distinction to make.

KIRO also reported Herrera Beutler has received the most direct funding from the NRA of any Washington Republican in Congress. That’s untrue.

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, R-Spokane, has received $9,500 since Herrera Beutler has been in office, but $17,450 total since she first ran for office in 2004.

While it’s true the NRA has funneled tens of millions of additional funding to legislators via lobbying and outside spending, the committee contributes little directly to candidates — at least those in Washington.

Katy Sword

I cover the city of Vancouver and federal politics. Reach me at katy.sword@columbian.com.

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