The National Rifle Association wants to buy a television or radio station and declare that it should be treated as a news organization, exempt from spending limits in the campaign finance law, the Associated Press reports. “We’re looking at bringing a court case that we’re as legitimate a media outlet as Disney or Viacom or Time Warner,” said NRA executive vice president, Wayne LaPierre. “Why should they have an exclusive right to relay information to the public, and why should not NRA be considered as legitimate a news source as they are? That’s never been explored legally.”
If the NRA were considered a media organization, it would be free to say what it wanted about candidates at any time and spend corporate money to do so, such as for commercials. The group, financed in part with corporate money, is now banned under the campaign finance law from running ads just before elections that mention federal candidates on state ballots.
LaPierre said even without a television or radio station, the group should be considered part of the media because it is a major magazine publisher and provides news over the Internet, LaPierre said. LaPierre said the NRA may pursue the media exemption even if its challenge to the campaign finance law should prevail in the Supreme Court, which is expected to rule soon. The 2002 finance law bars interest groups from airing TV and radio ads the month before a primary and two months before a general election if the ads identify federal candidates, are paid for with corporate or union money, and target candidates’ districts.