The NRA Paid a Gun Rights Activist to File SCOTUS Briefs. He Didn’t Disclose it to the Court.

The NRA Paid a Gun Rights Activist to File SCOTUS Briefs. He Didn’t Disclose it to the Court.

David Kopel, the research director of the Independence Institute, during a Senate Judiciary Committee about firearms in 2017. The NRA Foundation has paid an attorney and Second Amendment activist to write favorable briefs in Supreme Court cases, suggests a hacked document released on the dark web last week. Since 2019, that attorney has submitted two briefs backing an NRA affiliate in cases before the court, including one involving New York’s gun licensing requirements that is being heard today. The briefs did not disclose the funding, allowing the NRA to buttress its affiliate’s arguments while concealing the effort from judges and the public. Interest groups, including those fueled by dark money , seek influence at the Supreme Court in a range of ways, one being the production of amicus, or friend-of-the-court, briefs, which often extend and amplify the arguments of one side in a case. Attorneys who author these briefs must disclose whether they’ve taken money from either side to deliver a filing. The briefs that attorney David Kopel, an influential gun rights activist, filed with the court make no such admission. The disclosure rule is narrowly written, transparency advocates say, and it’s nearly impossible to link money flow to a particular brief, despite growing recognition that interest groups are covertly lobbing a barrage of amicus filings at the Supreme Court. The hacked document — which describes duties Kopel would undertake in exchange for a foundation grant that covers his salary and health benefits — appears to offer a glimpse […]

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