Thursday, January 06, 2011

Who owns Congress?

The National Rifle Association, for sure.

Amount the National Rifle Association spent in the past two decades on political activities: more than $100 million

Amount the NRA spent during that time on lobbying: $22 million

Amount it spent on political campaigns: $75 million

Percent of the 307 House and Senate members victorious in this year's mid-term elections who were backed by the NRA: 80

Date on which President Obama first announced he was nominating Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms Special Agent Andrew Traver to direct the agency: 11/15/2010

Number of days later that the NRA announced it opposed Traver because he served as an advisor to the International Association for Chiefs of Police, which advocates for stricter gun control laws: 4

Date on which the Senate returned Traver's nomination
to the White House without taking action: 12/22/2010

Date on which the president re-nominated Traver: 1/5/2011

Year in which Congress began requiring the ATF director position to be confirmed by the Senate: 2006

Year in which the ATF last had a permanent director: 2006

This information was assembled by the invaluable Institute for Southern Studies. Click the links for specific citations.

The interesting news is that President Obama re-nominated an ATF director the NRA found unacceptable. Might he perhaps be determined to cross the NRA? The proof would be if he made a recess appointment, filling the job when Congress is not in session.

Perhaps also, more vigorous firearms controls may be a pre-requisite for better cooperation with Mexico, where guns acquired in the U.S. are arming murderous drug dealers.

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