Brady Campaign Prez Weighs in on MoJo Story

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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.

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We've never been very good at being conservative.

And usually, that serves us well in doing the ambitious, hard-hitting journalism that you turn to Mother Jones for. But it also means we can't afford to come up short when it comes to scratching together the funds it takes to keep our team firing on all cylinders, and the truth is, we finished our budgeting cycle on June 30 about $100,000 short of our online goal.

This is no time to come up short. It's time to fight like hell, as our namesake would tell us to do, for a democracy where minority rule cannot impose an extreme agenda, where facts matter, and where accountability has a chance at the polls and in the press. If you value our reporting and you can right now, please help us dig out of the $100,000 hole we're starting our new budgeting cycle in with an always-needed and always-appreciated donation today.

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