January 8, 2016
Republican Gov. Scott Walker, who has received $3.5 million in outside electioneering support and campaign contributions from the National Rifle Association (NRA), is itching to challenge President Barack Obama’s plan to require more criminal background checks on firearms sales.
The president’s executive orders would require background checks on buyers at gun shows, flea markets or online, in addition to the background checks that already occur on purchases from licensed dealers. Walker criticized Obama for bypassing Congress, and claimed the president’s orders may violate Second Amendment rights and unlawfully restrict a person’s right to sell a firearm.
Walker asked Attorney General Brad Schimel, also a Republican, to review the president’s plan and challenge it if Schimel feels it is unconstitutional.
The president’s plan has drawn fire from the NRA, the nation’s leading and most powerful gun advocacy group. The NRA is a powerful state and federal lobbying and electioneering force because it has the ability to quickly mobilize its wide geographic membership to get out the vote to support pro-gun candidates. The NRA also spends tens of millions of dollars on campaign contributions and electioneering activities, like television and radio ads, to support pro-gun state and federal candidates in each two-year election cycle.
In Wisconsin, the NRA spent $3.6 million between 2008 and 2014 on independent expenditures to support Republican and conservative candidates for statewide offices and the legislature mostly with television and radio ads and mailings. About $3.5 million, or 96 percent, of the NRA’s election spending from 2008 to date in Wisconsin was to support Walker in his 2010, 2012 and 2014 elections. The group did no outside spending on behalf of Schimel.
In addition to its outside electioneering activities, the NRA Political Victory PAC has contributed $12,500 directly to Walker’s campaign and $1,000 to Schimel’s campaign through June 30, 2015.
For more details about the NRA’s outside electioneering activities, how much it spent, and the candidates it supported and opposed in elections from 2008 to date, please check out the Democracy Campaign’s profile on the NRA – here.
In his five years as governor, gun bills backed by the NRA have been among the most controversial items Walker has signed into law, including concealed carry; elimination of the 48-hour waiting period to buy a gun; and legal protections for people who shoot trespassers inside a home, business or vehicle, often called the “castle doctrine.”