The nomination of gun control activist David Chipman to be permanent director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, & Explosives is still stuck in a holding pattern, and the prospects of a confirmation vote ahead of the Senate’s impending August recess are slim. Still, far-Left activists are doing what they can do drum up support for Chipman, though the latest attempt to defend Chipman is awfully thin on its merits.
On today’s Bearing Arms’ Cam & Co, we’re digging into and dissecting a hit piece by the website American Independent accusing Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee of being pawns of the gun lobby in their opposition to Chipman’s nomination.
All 11 senators pushing for a second hearing based on the allegations — which have been promoted by the NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the Second Amendment Foundation — have received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions by those groups in their last few reelection campaigns.
According to campaign finance data, Grassley, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX.), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR), John Kennedy (R-LA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN.) received more than $130,000 from the NRA since 2016, and $48,000 from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.
That’s it? A total of $178,000 in campaign contributions to 11 different senators over three election cycles? I hate to break it to American Independent, but just as Republicans have taken campaign contributions from the gun lobby, their Democratic counterparts on the Senate Judiciary Committee have received plenty of campaign cash from the gun control lobby, including more than $12,000 sent to Sen. Dick Durbin in the 2020 election cycle. And given the fact that most of the spending on the part of gun control groups have come in the form of independent expenditures, the candidate donations don’t tell the full story. Everytown for Gun Safety’s PAC, for instance, spent nearly $4-million last year trying to defeat North Carolina’s Thom Tillis, which is far more than the $11,450 in campaign funds Tillis received from the NRA and the NSSF.
More importantly, however, is the fact that while Republicans and Democrats alike have received campaign contributions from the two sides of the gun control debate, only David Chipman has actually drawn a paycheck from the gun control lobby. To the best of my knowledge Chipman hasn’t disclosed his salary at either Mayors Against Illegal Guns or Giffords, but considering he’s spent much of the past decade in the employ of those gun control groups, I’d be shocked if he hasn’t earned more than $178,000 from the organizations over the past ten years.
I confess that I hadn’t heard of the website American Independent until I ran across its slanted report earlier today, so I was a little curious about the site’s background. It turns out that the site is affiliated with the American Independent Foundation, whose president Angelo Caruscone should be at least somewhat familiar to conservatives since he’s the head of the far-Left spin machine known as Media Matters for America.
So that explains the biased reporting from American Independent, but it also shows how indefensible Chipman’s nomination truly is. If the Left’s best argument against the criticism of Chipman is to point out that groups like the NRA and NSSF have donated to Republicans on the Judiciary Committee while ignoring the paychecks that Chipman’s received from groups like MAIG and Giffords, they simply don’t have much of a case.