If you go to the website for March for Our Lives — the supposedly student-run gun control organization that popped up in the aftermath of the 2018 Parkland school shooting — you can print out a price tag that says what the life of each student is worth by state.
Come again? Perhaps I should let them explain it: “We’ve calculated the price of each student in states across the country, based on the millions of dollars politicians have accepted from the [National Rifle Association]. Scroll through the options and print out a price tag to wear and share,” the website states.
“If your state doesn’t have a price tag, that’s good news. It means that your politicians aren’t taking large sums of NRA money. Instead, use the national average price tag to show your support for reforming our gun laws. And then make a donation to help us change gun laws and beat the NRA.”
Those price tags featured prominently in the 2018 march:
Student showing $1.05 price tag. Students divided the amount of money Marco Rubio got from the NRA, by those killed in gun violence, and see $1.05 as the price tag NRA-owned legislators are putting on our lives. #MarchForOurLives #Enough#WeCallBS#NeverAgain pic.twitter.com/TJgi7gChTQ
— PassMeAPickle (@CeeLeeMusic) March 24, 2018
The price tag bracelets are up on the March for our lives website!!! https://t.co/h8j3yaopqG
— Sarah Chadwick (@Sarahchadwickk) March 23, 2018
It’s not that March for Our Lives has any sort of issue with big money, however — just who’s giving and receiving it.
Do you think anti-gun activists are hypocrites?
99% (204 Votes)
1% (2 Votes)
That’s the only takeaway from a just-released tax form that shows the group took in almost all of its money from donations that were over six figures.
“The March For Our Lives Action Fund, a 501(c)(4) ‘social welfare’ organization launched in the aftermath of the deadly 2018 shootings at Florida’s Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School, is bankrolled almost entirely by large donations in excess of $100,000,” The Washington Free Beacon reported Tuesday.
“The group reported $17,879,150 in contributions and grants over the course of 2018, its first year of operations. Ninety-five percent of those contributions came from 36 donations between $100,000 and $3,504,717 — a grand total of $16,922,331.”
That’s quite a price tag.
According to the tax document, $7.8 million went to the eponymous march in Washington two years ago, including $4.7 million to a D.C.-based marketing firm for production.
Four million dollars, meanwhile, went to a summer tour to register voters and promote the organization’s mission.
There are several questions raised by the report, as the Free Beacon points out. Only 0.5 percent of the group’s revenue in 2018 — inarguably its most fecund period, given how frequently it was in the news — came from donors who gave less than $5,000. It’s clear the group is entirely reliant on big money, which is a serious problem for sustainability purposes.
It also raises questions, however, about how the group was received back in 2018.
I understand the difficulty of raising questions of how activists are funding their work when those activists are high school students who’ve been through an unspeakable tragedy. Their policy prescriptions may have been controversial but their grief was hardly unearned.
That said, treating March for Our Lives with the kind of adulating copy it got was hardly appropriate, either. Back when the march happened, media coverage pretended the organization and march had sprung, like Athena from the head of Zeus, fully formed out of the sorrow and drive of plucky teenagers.
We weren’t supposed to ask, for instance, whether what we were seeing was being astroturfed by other gun control groups. Nobody raised concerns that large celebrity donors were using teenagers as avatars for their own political views.
Both of these were absolutely factual, mind you, and probably ought to have been covered more extensively. The Michael Bloomberg-founded gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety pledged $2.5 million to March for Our Lives in the weeks leading up to the protests — a fact that was covered in the media, if at all, in the manner of a news release.
A snippet from Reuters’ report on Everytown’s involvement, for example:
“Gun-control advocacy group Everytown for Gun Safety said on Friday it will donate up to $2.5 million to support marches around the United States on March 24, the date of a planned March For Our Lives in Washington to demand an end to school shootings. …
“Many student survivors of the Florida shooting have emerged as prominent advocates for greater gun control. They hope to tip the balance in a long-running national debate over how much regulation is permitted by the U.S. Constitution’s Second Amendment, which the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled guarantees an individual right to have guns.”
What wasn’t underwritten by gun control groups was covered by celebrities and deep-pocketed liberals. According to Vanity Fair, George and Amal Clooney pledged $500,000, as did Oprah Winfrey.
Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and billionaire Eli Broad both pledged $1 million, Gucci pledged $500,000, the Free Beacon reported.
Meanwhile, the amount pledged by small donors? Almost zilch. Gun control apparently isn’t an issue that gets much play among the public at large, but six- and seven-figure donations abound to an organization that puts itself forward as a grassroots movement of teenagers — teenagers who are apparently very upset that politicians are taking money from the NRA.
Apparently, they can’t live up to their own standards.
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