With the National Rifle Association at the center of the debate over what legislatively can be done following the massacre at Sandy Hook elementary school in Connecticut last week, it's worth looking at where the NRA spends it money when it comes to Congress.
And, thanks to the Sunlight Foundation -- a Fix favorite! -- we can see not only the partisan breakdown of NRA giving but also the biggest recipients of NRA cash in the 2012 election.
This first chart looks at where NRA PAC donations went in the House:
And here's how the NRA spread out its money in the Senate:
Sunlight's Lee Drutman adds:
"Of the 435 members of the new House, 205 – or 47 percent – received some money from the NRA during the last campaign. More than half have taken NRA money at some point in their career. Of the Senate’s 100 members, 42 received contributions this past cycle and exactly half have received contributions at some point in their career. All told, 88 percent of Republicans now in Congress have received a contribution from the NRA at some point in their career, as have 11 percent of Democrats."
Those statistics are striking -- though not terribly surprising since the NRA has long been one of the most powerful lobbying/election operations in political Washington.
What the numbers make clear: How the NRA chooses to navigate the post-Newtown political environment as it relates to gun control is critically important to the future of any legislative solutions to curb gun violence.
Watch what NRA president Wayne LaPierre says this weekend on "Meet the Press". He may be the most important player in the coming gun debate not named President Obama.