Despite having its biggest champion in the White House, the financial situation of the country’s largest gun-rights group has reportedly worsened in the age of President Donald Trump.
The National Rifle Association suffered a significant $55 million drop in annual revenue last year, The Hill reports, citing tax records. Donations to the NRA are down to $98 million in 2017 from nearly $125 million in 2016, a year that marked a record-breaking haul for the organization, according to the documents, the report states.
Last year, about one-fifth of the NRA’s donations came from one single anonymous donor, who contributed almost $19 million to the group, tax forms show. Additionally, the organization also saw membership dues drop to a five-year low, according to Politico. In 2016, the NRA took in more than $163 million in dues, which dropped to about $128 million last year, according to The Hill, which could signal a decline in public support for the gun-rights group.
On the other hand, NRA magazine subscribers have gone up, nearly all of whom are dues-paying members, according to the Politico report. NRA spokesman Andrew Arulanandam said that advocacy groups often post lower revenues in non-election years, adding that totals can fluctuate wildly from year to year, the report continued.
According to Politico, the organization channeled $27 million to the Institute for Legislative Action, the NRA’s lobbying arm, down from 2016, a presidential election year in which the institute spent more than $76 million.
“The NRA has approximately 5.5 million dues-paying members today — the highest level ever in the history of our Association,” Arulanandam said in a written statement quoted in the Politico report. “The historical fact is nobody has fought for and produced results in defending Second Amendment rights and American values like the NRA.”
Last year also marked a historic year for gun-control groups. While they continue to lag significantly behind the NRA’s spending power, gun-control groups have outspent gun-rights groups for the first election cycle in history, said Anna Massoglia, a researcher with the nonprofit watchdog group Center for Responsive Politics, according to Politico.
Earlier this year, the NRA argued in a lawsuit that the organization faced financial troubles after New York state propelled financial institutions to end business with the group, according to The Hill.
“If the NRA is unable to collect donations from its members, safeguard the assets endowed to it, apply its funds to cover media buys and other expenses integral to its political speech, and obtain basic corporate insurance coverage, it will be unable to exist as a not-for-profit or pursue its advocacy mission,” the group said at the time, as quoted by The Hill.