Gun MoneyUPDATE:  On June 10, 2015, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW) filed formal complaints with the IRS and FEC calling on them to conduct an audit of the NRA to determine if the gun lobby group had violated federal laws.1 In March 2016, CREW updated its findings, announcing that the NRA has failed to disclose $60 million in political spending since 2008.2


In April 2015, Yahoo News published the results of an investigation into the fundraising activities of the National Rifle Association (NRA) that revealed numerous violations of federal tax and election laws.3 Among other revelations, the investigation discovered that the gun lobby was illegally using donations it solicits for non-political purposes to pay for electioneering, and then failed to disclose the contributions as required by federal law. The expose appeared to uncover the following specific violations of federal law by the NRA:

  • Failing to report more than $33 million dollars in political expenditures between 2008 and 2013.  Had it done so, according to the Yahoo News report, the NRA would have owed more than $600,000 in taxes to the federal government.
  • Soliciting donations for the National Rifle Association Political Victory Fund (NRA-PVF), its PAC, for electoral purposes without disclosing that fact to potential donors.
  • Soliciting donations for the NRA-PVF from the general public, even though the NRA is barred from doing so as a member organization.
  • Failing to post multiple disclaimers required by federal law when fundraising for the NRA-PVF.

While the NRA asserts its failure stemmed from a “clerical error,” such an error is hard to believe from a sophisticated and influential organization with multiple levels of review for all of its filings. This was not, as the NRA has asserted, simple failure to check a box. The NRA also failed to file an entire schedule required for any organization with political expenditures.

The NRA should be transparent about the millions of dollars it is spending on political activities. It should not be dismissive about failing to disclose this substantial political spending on its tax forms. If the NRA refuses to abide by the law, then it is necessary for the proper authorities to hold the NRA accountable.

 Tell Federal Election Commission (FEC) Chairman Ann Ravel and Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Commissioner John Koskinen: Launch investigations into the NRA’s fraudulent activities immediately.


  1. Press Release, “CREW Calls on IRS and FEC to Scrutinize National Rifle Association Over Financial Irregularities,” June 9, 2015
  2. Press Release, “CREW Complaint: NRA Undisclosed Political Activity Nears $60 Million,” March 8, 2016
  3. Alan Berlow, “The NRA’s Brazen Shell Game with Donations,” Yahoo News, April 21, 2015

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