2nd Amendment

The Left’s Lucrative Nonprofits

‘Powerful interests’ and ‘dark money’ are mostly on the Democratic side.

By Kimberley A. Strassel

Sept. 5, 2019 6:49 pm ET

The Planned Parenthood Reproductive Health Services Center in St. Louis, Mo., May 30.PHOTO: SAUL LOEB/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES

This year’s Democratic presidential candidates have a favorite whipping boy: “powerful interests.” Get ready to hear again in coming weeks how the National Rifle Association rules Washington, how the Koch empire dominates politics, how the right is pouring “dark money” into its agenda. And then remember that these are among the biggest whoppers of the 2020 election. One side will do battle with the aid of a huge and savvy nonprofit political empire—and it isn’t the right. Though the sooner Republicans understand that, the better.

A helpful tutorial arrived this week, “Power Grab,” a new book by Republican former Rep. Jason Chaffetz of Utah. Mr. Chaffetz has been digging into nonprofits since his time as House Oversight Committee chairman, and the book details how powerful the liberal nonprofit sector has grown. It may surprise many Americans—those who read daily stories about conservative “influence”—that the likes of the NRA, Judicial Watch and the National Organization for Marriage barely rank by comparison to the assets and revenue of Planned Parenthood, the American Civil Liberties Union or the Nature Conservancy.

These aren’t only big political players; they’re the biggest political players. In 2018 the nonprofit watchdog Capital Research Center analyzed grants handed out in the 2014 election year by six big foundations on the right (including the Bradley and Charles Koch foundations) versus six on the left (including the Open Society and Tides foundations). Liberal public-policy charities, organized under chapter 501(c)(3) of the tax code, bagged $7.4 billion of this foundation money in 2014. For conservative charities, the figure was a mere $2.2 billion. That $7.4 billion also dwarfed total 2013-14 campaign receipts to federal, state and local campaigns ($4.1 billion) and spending that cycle by independent groups ($830 million).

Mr. Chaffetz’s contribution is to refocus attention on the way liberal charities channel their huge funds into political work that benefits the Democratic Party. We’ve long known that some of them engage in nominally nonpartisan voter registration, conveniently only in places likely to yield Democratic votes. The Chaffetz book adds new data highlighting contracts between liberal charities and overt political organizations.

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Rural Sheriffs Defy New Gun Measures

‘Second Amendment sanctuary’ counties say they won’t enforce background checks, other gun-control proposals

An employee places a rifle back on the wall at ABQ Guns in Albuquerque, N.M., on Saturday. New Mexico is one of the states where the ‘Second Amendment sanctuary’ movement has taken hold.
An employee places a rifle back on the wall at ABQ Guns in Albuquerque, N.M., on Saturday. New Mexico is one of the states where the ‘Second Amendment sanctuary’ movement has taken hold. PHOTO: ADRIA MALCOLM FOR THE WALL STREET JOURNAL

SANTA FE, N.M.—In swaths of rural America, county sheriffs, prosecutors and other local officials are mounting resistance to gun-control measures moving through legislatures in Democratic-led states.

The “Second Amendment sanctuary” movement has taken hold in more than 100 counties in several states, including New Mexico and Illinois, where local law-enforcement and county leaders are saying they won’t enforce new legislation that infringes on the constitutional right to bear arms.

For instance, in New Mexico, 30 of 33 county sheriffs have signed a letter pledging to not help enforce several gun-control measures supported by Democrats in Santa Fe, according to the state’s sheriff association. The sheriffs, who are elected, say they are heeding the wishes of voters in the counties they serve. More than two dozen counties in the state have enacted “sanctuary” resolutions backing the sheriffs and affirming that no tax dollars in their jurisdictions should go to enforcing the proposed laws.

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