Andrew Kerr, DCNF
Not all is as it seems at the organization behind a nationwide grassroots movement that seeks to make the National Rifle Association “politically radioactive.”
Within 24 hours of last Wednesday’s mass shooting at a Florida high school that left 17 dead, gun control activists had concocted No NRA Money, an organization behind a national grassroots pledge campaign that seeks to “break the NRA’s stranglehold that has thwarted meaningful progress on common sense gun policy.”
But No NRA Money’s claim to be a grassroots movement is questionable. Hidden within the HTML code running No NRA Money’s website is a link to digital asset hosted on a website ran by Equality Florida, an LGBT advocacy organization.
The digital asset in question hosted on Equality Florida’s website is none other than the logo for No NRA Money.
The pledge drive has already attracted the support of thousands of voters and over 60 candidates for public office across the United States, including Democratic candidate for governor of Iowa Cathy Glasson.
“I just signed a pledge with @noNRAmoney stating that our bold progressive campaign will never accept campaign donations from the @NRA. In Iowa, and as a nation, we must put aside partisan politics in the pursuit of common sense gun laws.” -CG #NoNRAMoney https://t.co/PcBpNthFbe
— Cathy Glasson (@CathyGlasson) February 18, 2018
Despite the movement’s short-term success, it’s unclear who holds the purse strings at No NRA Money.
Nadine Smith, the executive director of Equality Florida, appeared on MSNBC’s “AM Joy” on Saturday to promote the anti-NRA pledge drive.
Smith was unclear about the organizational structure of No NRA Money, describing the group as a national “grassroots effort that came together online, from parents in particular.”
Public records paint a different picture of No NRA Money origins and call into question its claim to be a “grassroots” movement.
The organization’s website was purchased behind a proxy less than a day after the Feb. 14 deadly shooting at a Florida high school.
And the self-described national movement appears to have no formal presence in any state or jurisdiction. The Daily Caller News Foundation was unable to locate any business registration records for the group in any state, nor has the organization registered with the Federal Election Commission.
Added to that, there are no disclosures anywhere on the No NRA Money’s website indicating who is funding the effort.
One major clue of No NRA Money’s origins is contained within the HTML code running its website. Contained within is a link to an image asset hosted on Equality Florida’s website.
The code in question governs how Twitter displays No NRA Money’s logo whenever a user posts a link to their site. Twitter is instructed to pull the logo not from No NRA Money’s website, but from Equality Florida’s website.
Does this mean that Equality Florida is running No NRA Money’s website and pledge campaign? Given No NRA Money’s apparent lack of a formal business presence, perhaps.
If it’s true that Equality Florida is funding the effort to bring about the NRA’s demise, it would put the movement’s grassroots label in question.
Equality Florida is the antithesis of grassroots — it’s a three-entity conglomerate made up of two non-profit organizations and one political organization.
Smith serves as the CEO for Equality Florida Institute, Inc., and Equality Florida Action, Inc., the two nonprofit organizations of the Equality Florida conglomerate. She’s well paid for her services, collecting $164,391 in total compensation from both organizations in 2016 alone.
Smith is also the registered agent of Equality Florida’s political arm, Equality Florida Action PAC, Inc.
Equality Florida did not respond TheDCNF when asked why it was hosting content for No NRA Money or whether it was funding the pledge drive.
No NRA Money also did not respond to TheDCNF’s request for comment.
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