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Waterloo for the NRA? Its donations to GOP candidates plunge 90 percent

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The National Rifle Association has largely pulled back from funding Republican candidates this election cycle as the organization deals with financial headaches and an FBI investigation into its ties to Russian officials.

The NRA has been a major donor to Republican candidates. The group poured $16 million to Republican candidates during the 2014 midterms, according to the Federal Election Commission, and a spent a whopping $54 million on Republicans in the 2016 cycle, with $32 million of that to elect President Donald Trump.

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McClatchy reports that the NRA has pledged just $1.6 million to Republicans this cycle, a mere 10 percent of its previous midterm spend. The report notes that the decline comes amid an FBI probe into whether the group illegally received Russian money to spend on the election.

The FBI is looking at whether Alexander Torshin, a top official at Russia’s central bank, funneled money to the group to help then-candidate Trump. A number of NRA officials have also been linked to Torshin’s associate Maria Butina, who was indicted earlier this year for working as an agent of the Russian Federation. The NRA denied spending foreign cash on the election but admitted to accepting foreign donations for non-electoral campaigns, though the group has only admitted to receiving $2,513 in donations and membership dues from 23 Russian nationals since 2015.

The report also notes a drop in dues since last year’s school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.

According to the Center for Responsive Politics, the NRA has reported a $35 million decline in dues.

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“While the NRA doesn’t have billions to spend, we have a formidable grassroots organization. Our strength has always been the tens of millions of NRA members and Second Amendment supporters who consistently go to the polls and vote for candidates who support our constitutional right to self defense,” the group said in a statement to McClatchy.

It is not just the the FBI investigation and the NRA’s popularity problem. The cash-strapped group said, in a lawsuit filed against New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo accusing him of bullying banks and insurance companies into dropping them, that they may have to shut down some of their operations.

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The suit claimed Cuomo was behind a “concerted efforts to stifle the NRA’s freedom of speech” and warned that “it could be forced to shutter its multimillion-dollar television network, NRA TV, or a number of its print publications.” The lawsuit adds that without insurance, the NRA “cannot maintain its physical premises” or “convene off-site meetings and events.”

While the NRA is pulling back, gun control advocacy groups are stepping up their spending this cycle.

Former Arizona Rep. Gabby Giffords’ PAC has spent $3.6 million this year and Everytown for Gun Safety, founded by former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, has added another $1.5 million.

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More than half of the NRA’s donations have gone to campaigns in Montana and West Virginia, where Democratic Sens. Jon Tester and Joe Manchin are leading in the polls. On the other hand, the group has not spent a dime in Florida, where Republican Gov. Rick Scott is narrowly trailing incumbent Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson in one of this November’s marquee matchups.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

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Why was Jeffrey Epstein buying size 5 women’s panties — while in jail?

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The Miami Herald has another bombshell report on Jeffrey Epstein, who died in a Manhattan jail while waiting to stand trial on federal sex crimes charges.

"A decade ago, during a brief stint in Palm Beach County Jail, convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein made an odd purchase at the facility’s store: two pairs of small women’s panties, size 5," the Herald reported Saturday night.

The newspaper noted, "the panties raise questions about why a childless male inmate, accused of sexually abusing girls as young as 14, would be allowed to buy female undergarments so small that they wouldn’t fit an average-sized adult woman."

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White nationalist Republican ridiculed after only 2 people show up for his town hall meeting

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Embattled Rep. Steve King (R-IA) suffered further humiliation on Saturday when only two people showed up for his town hall meeting with Iowa constituents.

King, who was stripped of all committee assignments for his white nationalism, was been an embarrassment for Republicans with his constant racism and misogyny.

A photo of the town hall meeting was posted on Twitter by Reuters photo editor Corinne Perkins.

https://twitter.com/corinne_perkins/status/1162806565109473280

Rep. King was quickly mocked in the comments.

Here's some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/sedespres/status/1162811223186006018

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2020 Election

Democrats could flip the Texas state house in 2020 — and reshape the national map

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Blue Texas? Democrats have long dreamt of winning Texas’s 38 electoral votes in the presidential election. That may still be a long shot, but a recent “Texodus” from Congress has given new talk to a political transformation across the Lone Star State that could have massive ramifications down the ballot and for decades to come.

This article was originally posted at Salon.

Four of the state’s GOP members of Congress have announced their retirements in recent weeks, an unusual torrent of departures signaling that a storm is coming. And evidence shows that it’s not just hitting Texas’s federal delegation. It’s coming to Austin, too.

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