In an exclusive examination of IRS filings, Pennsylvania gun owners can breathe a little easier in news that fewer people are willing to buy what anti-gun organizations are trying to sell.
Reviewing the financial reports of The Brady Campaign and The Brady Center (the legislative & foundation divisions of the national anti-gun organization, respectively), it would appear that fewer donors are willing to step up to advance their agenda to re-write the Second Amendment as we know it.
From 2004-2008 (the latest year for which data is available), the Brady Campaign has seen donations drop more than 53%. Considering the numbers started falling a full two years before the official start of the recession, it is unlikely that their lack of fundraising success has been due to the financial strains on donors.
In fact, because they’ve had to dip into savings and claim investment losses, the Brady Campaign actually ended 2008 in the red by more than $450,000.
The numbers don’t appear much better for their tax-exempt wing, The Brady Center. A first glance at the numbers above, my experience as a non-profit staffer told me that the organization may have been re-aligning costs and donations to their other division. (The legal division between outright lobbying and merely educating lawmakers is enough to make it worthwhile to shift costs to the Center.) But upon review of the Center’s financial reports, it would seem that not even the deductibility of donations is enough to entice donors to open their wallets.
Though the organization has been much better about keeping a comfortable nest egg for their Center, even that has been in decline due to recent litigation expenses in Heller and McDonald. In total assets, the Center is down more than 10% to less than $2 million in a cushion for tight times.
So while it may seem too good to be true for gun owners, this is no April Fool’s joke. The numbers are real. However, that doesn’t mean we get to sit tight. With a multi-billionaire like Michael Bloomberg funding his own anti-gun organization that has Pennsylvania in its crosshairs, we’re still at risk. In fact, Bloomberg’s model of attacking us city by city with a lobbyist he shares with the Brady Campaign has been more successful than traditional gun control activism. In that regard, Pennsylvania is in a more precarious situation than before the Brady Campaign’s donations started drying up.