On the heels of Wednesday’s tragic school shooting in Florida, the debate over gun control is starting up again.
It’s a contentious issue, and one that many feel is complicated by the heavy spending the National Rifle Association (NRA) and other gun lobby groups invest in political races. The longer some politicians have been in business, the more money from those groups they’ve seen spent in their favor.
In the 2016 election, the NRA spent $11,438,118 to support Donald Trump—and another $19,756,346 to oppose Hillary Clinton. That’s over $31 million spent on one presidential race.
Presidential candidates aren’t the only ones who benefit from the NRA’s largess, though. Here’s a look at the top politicians who have benefited from NRA funding over their careers, back to 1989, as calculated by the Center for Responsive Politics and three writers for the New York Times Opinion section:
Top 5 Senators That Benefited the Most From NRA Funding
John McCain (R, AZ) – $7.74 million
Richard Burr (R, NC) – $6.99 million
Roy Blunt (R, MO) – $4.55 million
Thom Tillis (R, NC) – $4.42 million
Cory Gardner (R, CO) – $3.88 million
Top 5 Representatives That Benefited the Most From NRA Funding
French Hill (R, AR) – $1.09 million
Ken Buck (R, CO) – $800,544
David Young (R, IA) – $707,662
Mike Simpson, (R, ID) – $385,731
Greg Gianforte (R, MT) – $344,630
It’s worth noting that the calculated totals listed above combine direct campaign contributions (which are limited by law; see this Washington Post data visualization for only those figures) as well as outside money spent on behalf of candidates from the NRA’s PACs and directly from the NRA’s 501(c)(4) social welfare unit. The figures subtract independent expenditures for and against opponents if the candidate did not compete in a general election. (Independent expenditures denote funds used for or against a candidate but not made in cooperation, consultation, or concert with them.)
Editor’s Note, Feb. 26, 2018: The headline and text of this article have been corrected; an earlier version conflated contributions and independent expenditures, which have distinct and regulated definitions. The article has also been updated to clarify the language describing the source of the information.