Not long after a terribly troubled 19-year-old with an AR-15 assault rifle slaughtered 17 children at a high school in Parkland, Fla., House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of Bakersfield offered this tweet:
“The heart of our nation breaks with the senseless and tragic loss of these young students. Our prayers are with them and their families.”
The sentiment was fine and tender and no doubt heartfelt. And in that spirit, we extend our own heartfelt sentiments, as yet another community is ravaged by this nation’s sick addiction to violence and guns.
Start taking a stand against gun violence by cutting off donations to politicians who refuse to support wise gun-control measures. Don’t settle for thought$ and prayer$.
To that end, here’s a closer look at the hearts and prayers of all the member$ of the California congre$$ional delegation, via the campaign money they’ve accepted from gun right$ organization$, led by the National Rifle A$$ociation. The Center for Responsive Politics compiled the data, as of the end of 2017:
Ken Calvert, R-Corona: $147,166
Ed Royce, R-Fullerton: $109,120
Tom McClintock, R-Elk Grove, $95,156
Kevin McCarthy, R-Bakersfield: $86,850
Jeff Denham, R-Turlock, $62,900
Darrell Issa, R-Vista, $54,270
David Valadao, R-Hanford, $49,200
Dana Rohrabacher, R-Costa Mesa, $42,150
Duncan Hunter, R-San Diego, $41,087
Devin Nunes, R-Tulare, $37,450
Mimi Walters, R-Dana Point, $19,650
Paul Cook, R-Apple Valley, $16,100
Steve Knight, R-Lancaster, $15,054
Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale, $13,500
Among the common threads, all these members are Republican. Gun rights groups have ceased giving money to California Democrats, though in past years they contributed $50,379 to Rep. Mike Thompson, D-St. Helena, and $2,900 to Rep. Jim Costa, D-Fresno.
A contested congressional race can easily cost $10 million. So a few thousand bucks or a few tens of thousands of dollars would not matter much. But pro-gun groups led by the NRA have shown a willingness to spend hundreds of thousands in independent campaigns for friendly members and against their perceived enemies.
Equally significant, McCarthy raised almost $1.4 million from political action committees in 2017. Those PACs represent oil companies, farmers, retailers, tech giants such as Google and Facebook, and more.
Many are physicians’ groups representing neurologists, cardiologists, orthopedists, psychiatrists and emergency room doctors. Their members know firsthand what happens when bullets rip into flesh, bone and brain.
Campaign contributors a share common goal. They donate knowing that politicians have a vote and can use their power to block measures, such as one by Sen. Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., which would ban semi-automatic killing devices such as the AR-15 used to kill 17 children at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland.
Donors led by physicians could start taking a stand against gun violence by cutting off donations to politicians who refuse to support wise gun-control measures. Until the donor class starts taking a stand, the rest of us will have to settle for the cold comfort of politicians such McCarthy, with their endlessly heartfelt $entiments, their thought$, their prayer$.