Brady Campaign Prez Weighs in on MoJo Story


In a blog item titled “NRA Dirty Tricks,” Paul Helmke, president of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, has just weighed in on today’s MoJo article on gun lobby mole Mary Lou Sapone (a.k.a. Mary McFate). He writes:

When the National Rifle Association asks its members for their next contribution, they might want to disclose how much of that money will be spent to spy on gun violence victims and their families.

Mother Jones Magazine today reported that someone the gun violence prevention movement believed was a committed gun control activist was, in fact, a gun lobby spy.

Mother Jones focused on the activity of Mary McFate, also known as Mary Lou Sapone, a woman who has apparently led a double life for over twenty years, performing industrial espionage services for a variety of anti-environmental and gun lobby organizations – including the National Rifle Association…

… Reading the story, one imagines a group of executives over at NRA headquarters huddled around a copy of The Art of War with a flashlight in a dark basement office, hatching a new cloak-and-dagger plot.

Whatever the case, it’s clear that some over there have too much money and no moral compass.

It is one thing to recognize, as CNN found last month, that 86% of the American people favor a waiting period before buying a gun, while 79% favor the registration of guns with the local government. That’s reason enough for the NRA to feel defensive.

It is another thing entirely to pay a woman to trade on the grief of gun violence victims and their families—to pay someone to pretend to be their friend and confidant—when in reality she was spying on their efforts to strengthen this country’s tragically weak gun laws.

Does this behavior reflect the NRA’s membership? I don’t think so. I think this represents the bunker paranoia leaders who will resort to any means—by hook or by crook—to get any information they can get about the gun violence prevention movement, and that contradicts every statement they make about being a “civil rights” organization.

Read the rest of Helmke’s blog item here.

Meantime, the story is ricocheting through the gun control community. The Freedom States Alliance, where McFate is a board member (though presumably not for long), just posted the article to the front page of its site.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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