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Politics

Here's how much the National Rifle Association donates to politicians in heavily Hispanic districts

Hispanic lawmakers and those from districts with large Latino populations received money from the pro-gun organization, which spends $4.5 million a year in a country pummeled by mass shootings.

The National Rifle Association has spent at least $123 million since 1990 to fight restrictions on the right to bear arms in the United States.

That's $4.5 million per year, in a country that just suffered the worst mass shooting in its recent history and has more guns than people.

The country has 357 million guns and 317 people, according to official figures from 2013.

The NRA has donated money and advertising support to 319 members of the U.S. Congress currently serving in Washington.

Part of the NRA money went to members from districts where Hispanics make up more than half the population, according to data analyzed by Univision News.

Among the Hispanic lawmakers who accepted money from the gun lobby are Rep. Henry Cuellar (D-TX), and Miami Republicans Mario Díaz-Balart, Carlos Curbelo and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.

Another member of the Hispanic Caucus in Congress, Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), received $3,500 from the NRA.

Among other Hispanic lawmakers favored by the NRA are Republican Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, who received $75,000 in direct contributions and campaign support, and Marco Rubio of Florida, who received $3.3 million.

The majority of NRA contributions went to Republicans.


Support in Hispanic areas

The NRA donated money to nine members of Congress from districts where Hispanics make up at least half the population.

Congressional districts

OUTSIDE SPENDING

NEW MEXICO

Steve Pearce

$90,165

Congressional District 2

Direct support

$28,900

Independent support

$59,414

Expenditures against opponent

$2,468

FLORIDA

Carlos Curbelo

$75,425

Congressional District 26

Direct support

$7,450

Independent support

$36,584

Expenditures against opponent

$31,391

Mario Díaz-Balart

$32,002

Congressional District 25

Direct support

$27,450

Independent support

$4,552

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

$2,000

Congressional District 27

Direct support

$2,000

CALIFORNIA

David Valadao

$51,570

Congressional District 21

Direct support

$20,400

Independent support

$31,028

Expenditures against opponent

$142

TEXAS

Gene Green

$46,814

Congressional District 21

Direct support

$40,250

Independent support

$6,509

Will Hurd

$27,771

Congressional District 23

Direct support

$11,900

Independent support

$15,871

Henry Cuellar

$26,719

Congressional District 28

Direct support

$24,350

Independent support

$1,994

Expenditures against opponent

$448

Blake Farenthold

$9,500

Congressional District 27

Direct support

$9,500

Congressional districts

OUTSIDE SPENDING

NEW MEXICO

Steve Pearce

$90,165

Congressional District 2

Direct support

$28,900

Independent support

$59,414

Expenditures against opponent

$2,468

FLORIDA

Carlos Curbelo

$75,425

Congressional District 26

Direct support

$7,450

Independent support

$36,584

Expenditures against opponent

$31,391

Mario Díaz-Balart

$32,002

Congressional District 25

Direct support

$27,450

Independent support

$4,552

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

$2,000

Congressional District 27

Direct support

$2,000

CALIFORNIA

David Valadao

$51,570

Congressional District 21

Direct support

$20,400

Independent support

$31,028

$142

Expenditures against opponent

TEXAS

Gene Green

$46,814

Congressional District 21

Direct support

$40,250

Independent support

$6,509

Will Hurd

$27,771

Congressional District 23

Direct support

$11,900

Independent support

$15,871

Henry Cuellar

$26,719

Congressional District 28

Direct support

$24,350

Independent support

$1,994

Expenditures against opponent

$448

Blake Farenthold

$9,500

Congressional District 27

Direct support

$9,500

Congressional districts

OUTSIDE SPENDING

NEW MEXICO

CALIFORNIA

Steve Pearce

David Valadao

$90,165

$51,570

Congressional District 2

Congressional District 21

Direct support

$28,900

Direct support

$20,400

Independent support

$59,414

Independent support

$31,028

Expenditures against opponent

$2,468

Expenditures against opponent

$142

FLORIDA

TEXAS

Carlos Curbelo

Gene Green

$75,425

$46,814

Congressional District 26

Congressional District 21

Direct support

$7,450

Direct support

$40,250

Independent support

$36,584

Independent support

$6,509

Expenditures against opponent

$31,391

Will Hurd

$27,771

Mario Díaz-Balart

Congressional District 23

$32,002

Congressional District 25

Direct support

$11,900

Direct support

$27,450

Independent support

$15,871

Independent support

$4,552

Henry Cuellar

$26,719

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

$2,000

Congressional District 28

Congressional District 27

Direct support

$24,350

Direct support

$2,000

Independent support

$1,994

Expenditures against opponent

$448

Blake Farenthold

$9,500

Congressional District 27

Direct support

$9,500

Congressional districts

OUTSIDE SPENDING

NEW MEXICO

CALIFORNIA

Steve Pearce

David Valadao

$90,165

$51,570

Congressional District 2

Congressional District 21

Direct support

$28,900

Direct support

$20,400

Independent support

$59,414

Independent support

$31,028

Expenditures against opponent

$2,468

Expenditures against opponent

$142

FLORIDA

TEXAS

Carlos Curbelo

Gene Green

$75,425

$46,814

Congressional District 26

Congressional District 21

Direct support

$7,450

Direct support

$40,250

Independent support

$36,584

Independent support

$6,509

Expenditures against opponent

$31,391

Will Hurd

$27,771

Mario Díaz-Balart

Congressional District 23

$32,002

Congressional District 25

Direct support

$11,900

Direct support

$27,450

Independent support

$15,871

Independent support

$4,552

Henry Cuellar

$26,719

Ileana Ros-Lehtinen

$2,000

Congressional District 28

Congressional District 27

Direct support

$24,350

Direct support

$2,000

Independent support

$1,994

Expenditures against opponent

$448

Blake Farenthold

$9,500

Congressional District 27

Direct support

$9,500

Source: Center for Responsive Politics, U.S. Census Bureau | Univision Data

The data on the gun lobby comes from OpenSecrets.org, a non-profit that tracks the money received by politicians, government officials and lobbyists to influence U.S. policies.

The $123 million estimate is conservative. Although the organization has been tracking political contributions since 1990, it started counting money spent on lobbying in 1998 and on “external expenses” in 2004.

The NRA argues for the right to bear arms in order to ensure the safety of U.S. citizens. But a database gathered by Mother Jones showed that 77 percent of all mass shootings recorded since 1982, including the most recent in Las Vegas, were carried out with legally purchased weapons.

Representatives in Hispanic districts

Univision News analyzed available NRA contribution records in the 39 U.S. Congressional districts where at least half the population is Hispanic. We found support for six representatives from California, Texas, Florida and New Mexico.

The biggest recipient was Steve Pearce, a New Mexico Republican who received $90,165.

The NRA also contributed to six U.S. senators from four states that, together, are home to more than half of all Hispanics in the United States.

The biggest beneficiary was Republican John McCain, who received more than $7 million.


Money for Politicians

Senators from four states that hold 30 percent of all Latinos in the country received NRA funds.

ARIZONA

John McCain

$7,740,521

Direct support

$37,450

Independent support

$505,278

Expenditures against opponent

$7,212,973

Jeff Flake

$365,302

Direct support

$18,400

Independent support

$346,902

FLORIDA

Marco Rubio

$3,303,355

Direct support

$4,950

Independent support

$1,008,030

Expenditures against opponent

$2,290,375

NEW MEXICO

Martin Heinrich

$2,000

Direct support

$2,000

TEXAS

Ted Cruz

$75,450

Direct support

$10,150

Independent support

$65,300

John Cornyn

$71,995

Direct support

$36,250

Independent support

$35,745

ARIZONA

John McCain

$7,740,521

Direct support

$37,450

Independent support

$505,278

Expenditures against opponent

$7,212,973

Jeff Flake

$365,302

Direct support

$18,400

Independent support

$346,902

FLORIDA

Marco Rubio

$3,303,355

Direct support

$4,950

Independent support

$1,008,030

Expenditures against opponent

$2,290,375

NEW MEXICO

Martin Heinrich

$2,000

Direct support

$2,000

TEXAS

Ted Cruz

$75,450

Direct support

$10,150

Independent support

$65,300

John Cornyn

$71,995

Direct support

$36,250

Independent support

$35,745

NEW MEXICO

ARIZONA

John McCain

Martin Heinrich

$7,740,521

$2,000

Direct support

Direct support

$37,450

$2,000

Independent support

$505,278

TEXAS

Expenditures against opponent

$7,212,973

Ted Cruz

$75,450

Jeff Flake

$365,302

Direct support

$10,150

Direct support

$18,400

Independent support

$65,300

Independent support

$346,902

FLORIDA

John Cornyn

$71,995

Direct support

$36,250

Marco Rubio

$3,303,355

Independent support

$35,745

Direct support

$4,950

Independent support

$1,008,030

Expenditures against opponent

$2,290,375

NEW MEXICO

ARIZONA

John McCain

Martin Heinrich

$7,740,521

$2,000

Direct support

$37,450

Direct support

$2,000

Independent support

$505,278

TEXAS

Expenditures against opponent

$7,212,973

Ted Cruz

$75,450

Jeff Flake

$365,302

Direct support

$10,150

Direct support

$18,400

Independent support

$65,300

Independent support

$346,902

FLORIDA

John Cornyn

$71,995

Direct support

$36,250

Marco Rubio

$3,303,355

Independent support

$35,745

Direct support

$4,950

Independent support

$1,008,030

Expenditures against opponent

$2,290,375

Source: Center for Responsive Politics | Univision Data

Direct assistance drops

About 20 percent of the $123 million that the NRA spent to avert restrictions on gun ownership since 1990 went to the electoral campaigns of politicians or government officials, most of them Republicans.

Another $45 million, or about 37 percent, went to lobbyists in Washington and state senators. In the last year alone, the NRA paid lobbyists to influence 190 proposed laws on gun ownership.


Almost all for Republicans

Nearly 83 percent of the money donated went to Republican politicians. That type of donation has been diminishing.

0

500K

2M

1M

1,5M

2,5M

3,5M

3M

$648,642

$1,192,454

1990

1992

1994

1996

1998

2000

$252,750

$2,976,900

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

2012

2014

2016

$1,076,150

$10,550

Republicans

Democrats

0

500K

2M

1M

1,5M

2,5M

3,5M

3M

$648,642

1990

$1,192,454

1992

1994

1996

1998

$2,976,900

2000

$252,750

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

2012

2014

2016

$1,076,150

$10,550

Republicans

Democrats

3,5M

$2,976,900

3M

2,5M

2M

$1,192,454

1,5M

$1,076,150

1M

$252,750

500K

$10,550

$648,642

0

1990

1992

1994

1996

1998

2000

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

2012

2014

2016

Republicans

Democrats

3,5M

$2,976,900

3M

2,5M

2M

$1,192,454

1,5M

$1,076,150

1M

$252,750

500K

$648,642

$10,550

0

2008

2012

1990

1992

1994

1996

1998

2000

2002

2004

2006

2010

2014

2016

Republicans

Democrats

Source: Center for Responsive Politics | Univision Data

Nearly half the money the NRA spent since 1990 to promote its issues – $54 million – went to “external costs.” That's money it spent directly, not in donations to politicians.

Direct contributions to politicians dropped off in recent years as the money spent on publicity rose.

"This organization is very generous in this category, compared to the other organizations in our ranking,” said Brendan Quinn, communications director at OpenSecrets.org.

The NRA ranks eighth out of 166 organizations in that category, according to OpenSecrets.

The advantage of paying for its own advertising is that the NRA also controls the message, said Matt Grossmann, director of the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University.

"They generally produce advertising on their own issues, and if they donated the money to a candidate they would not be sure that those issues would be raised,” said Grossmann.


More for Lobbying, Less for Politicians

The NRA tends to spend more on lobbying companies than directly to members of Congress and government officials.

1M

2M

3M

3,5M

0

500K

1,5M

2,5M

1998

2000

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

2012

2014

$3,188,000

$1,090,200

2016

Support for Campaigns

Lobbying

 

1M

2M

3M

3,5M

0

1,5M

2,5M

500K

1998

2000

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

2012

2014

$1,090,200

$3,188,000

2016

Lobbying

 

Support for Campaigns

3,5M

$3,188,000

3M

2,5M

2M

1,5M

$1,090,200

1M

500K

0

2010

2012

2014

2016

1998

2000

2002

2004

2006

2008

Lobbying

 

Support for Campaigns

3,5M

$3,188,000

3M

2,5M

2M

1,5M

$1,090,200

1M

500K

0

2014

2016

1998

2000

2002

2004

2006

2008

2010

2012

Support for Campaigns

Lobbying

 

Source: Center for Responsive Politics | Univision Data

Searching for politicians

Why does the NRA want to influence politicians, by donating money to their campaigns or paying for lobbyists?

“Like any other interest group, they have priorities for public policies and want to achieve them by making sure that people who agree with them are elected,” said Grossmann, “and making sure that those on their side know that the NRA backs them, and that the NRA support is important.”

“They try to signal members that the NRA backs them, and that they expect the members will back the NRA's priorities,” he added.


Grossmann, an expert on elections and political culture, added that those donations are only a small part of the NRA's overall political activities.

"They have am enormous lobbying operation, an enormous membership and get-out-the-vote initiative, and they sometimes intervene with their own advertising instead of donations to candidates,” he said.

The NRA spent $2.3 million in lobbying in 1998, and $3.1 million in 2016.

“All of that is valuable, and is more likely to influence political decisions than campaign contributions,” Grossmann said.

En fotos: Escenas de terror en el ataque durante un concierto en Las Vegas

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