During an August 8 town hall meeting, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) claimed she doesn’t take money from the National Rifle Association — despite the group giving her more than $3 million according to a 2017 analysis.
In a video posted by the Iowa chapter of March For Our Lives, an audience member asked the senator if her donations from the NRA could be related to her co-sponsorship of the STOP School Violence Act, a bill introduced in the wake of the Parkland shooting that didn’t contain the word “gun” in its text.
The audience member noted that Ernst and Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) have received a combined $6 million from the NRA — a figure the Iowa senator refuted in her response.
“Actually, I have not received $6 million,” Ernst said. “Where did you see that information? Because we don’t receive dollars from the NRA.”
“They run independent expenditures or advertisements,” she continued, “They do not give us money. That would be illegal and I’d be driving a nicer car.”
Ernst, as the Times noted in an October list of members of Congress who benefitted from the NRA, is listed as the seventh-highest recipient of support from the gun rights group.
Senator Joni Ernst when asked if NRA money is affecting her gun violence prevention legislation:
"They do not give us money. That would be illegal and I'd be driving a nicer car." pic.twitter.com/OduXnoWl9i
— March For Our Lives Iowa (@IowaMFOL) August 9, 2018
Though Ernst is technically correct in asserting that it would be illegal for the NRA to cut her checks directly, campaign contributions can come in many forms — including the advertisements and “independent expenditures” she herself listed.