NRA uses shady law enforcement group to target judges

Money funneled through the Law Enforcement Alliance of America helps elect gun-friendly justices

Topics: NRA, Judges, Attorney, Gun Control, Law Enforcement Alliance of America, Law enforcement,

NRA uses shady law enforcement group to target judges (Credit: valzan via Shutterstock)

With a boatload of funding from the NRA, the Law Enforcement Alliance of America has been working at the state level to push pro-gun judicial candidates and prosecutors.

The LEAA is a conservative nonprofit that on its website purports to advocate for law enforcement and crime victims, and has, among other things, brought several lawsuits opposing federal background checks for gun buyers.

Though the LEAA is not required to reveal its donors, as Bloomberg News writes, its efforts are heavily funded by the NRA:

The group’s activities at the state level promoting judicial candidates are legal and not unusual in U.S. politics. What has been less known is the extent of its financial backing from the NRA, the nation’s leading gun-rights lobby.

The LEAA got at least $2 million from the NRA from 2004 to 2010, according to a report based on tax records to be released today by the Washington-based Center for American Progress. During many of those years, NRA donations accounted for about a quarter of LEAA’s funds, and in 2009 NRA money represented at least a third of the group’s revenue, according to the report.

As ThinkProgress reports, the LEAA has used this money for state-level judicial elections:

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The LEAA, in turn, has spent big on state supreme court races, shelling out millions of dollars for attack ads that distorted the rulings of judges in criminal cases. One judge was accused of “voting for” a rapist and a “baby killer.” An African American judge in Michigan was described as “soft on crime for rappers, lawyers, and child pornographers.” The LEAA’s attack ads helped give Republicans a majority on high courts in Pennsylvania and Michigan.

The NRA has also used its pull among Republican senators to rally opposition to President Obama’s Supreme Court picks, Sonia Sotomayor in 2009 and Elena Kagan in 2010. In addition, the gun lobby has begun to fight against Obama’s lower court nominees, and “has effectively blocked President Obama’s nomination of Caitlin J. Halligan to a seat on the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit that has been vacant since September 2005,” according to Linda Greenhouse at the New York Times.

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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