Ahead of Trump’s Address Before NRA Convention, CLC Action and Giffords File Suit to Compel FEC to Act on Illegal Campaign Coordination

NRA Executives with President Donald Trump
NRA Executive Director Chris Cox (L) and Executive Vice President and CEO Wayne LaPierre (R) welcome U.S. President Donald Trump (C) onstage to deliver remarks at the National Rifle Association (NRA) Leadership Forum at the Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S., April 28, 2017. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Campaign Legal Center Action (CLC Action) filed suit on behalf of Giffords against the Federal Election Commission (FEC) for failing to announce any action against the National Rifle Association (NRA) for using shell corporations to coordinate campaign spending with seven federal candidates spanning three election cycles from 2014-2018. The lawsuit was filed two days before President Trump addresses the NRA’s annual convention for the third year in a row – the only time in American history a president has done so.

The NRA’s complicated scheme had the effect of evading campaign contribution limits and shielding millions of dollars of political spending – including up to $25 million coordinated with Donald Trump’s presidential campaign – from public scrutiny.

Learn more about the NRA's scheme by watching our video:

Campaign Legal Center (CLC) and Giffords filed four complaints with the FEC to address these violations. The FEC is the independent regulatory agency tasked with enforcing campaign finance laws in federal elections, but in recent years it has failed to investigate countless high-profile cases. Giffords is asserting its right of action in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia after the 120-day period expired in which the FEC was legally required to respond.

Here is a visual depiction of how the NRA's scheme worked, with information reported by The Trace:

NRA graphic with logo

The lawsuit implicates the NRA’s spending in support of the following seven candidates:

  1. Matt Rosendale (2018 campaign for U.S. Senate in Montana)
  2. Josh Hawley (2018 campaign for U.S. Senate in Missouri)
  3. Donald Trump (2016 campaign for President of the United States)
  4. Ron Johnson (2016 campaign for U.S. Senate in Wisconsin)
  5. Thom Tillis (2014 campaign for U.S. Senate in North Carolina)
  6. Cory Gardner (2014 campaign for U.S. Senate in Colorado)
  7. Tom Cotton (2014 campaign for U.S. Senate in Arkansas)

Learn more about the case.

Corey handles media relations for the CLC voting rights and redistricting teams and creates online content. Follow @cgfromdc on Twitter