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“Bribery isn’t what it once was,” said an official with one of the major gun-control groups. “The government has no money. Once upon a time you would throw somebody a post office or a research facility in times like this. Frankly, there’s not a lot of leverage.”

So reports the center-left Politico, in a story that hasn’t received half the attention it should. Of course, many folks aren’t comfortable admitting that for decades, nonprofit advocacy groups have colluded with politicians to expand the federal government’s control over citizens—the Constitution and Bill of Rights be damned.

The nonprofit advocacy groups and their politician pals seek this aggrandizement of centralized government to expand their power. And they’re happy to grease the machinery with tax dollars that can bribe any politicians who are hesitant.

John Fund, one commentator who has given this news item the attention it deserves, stresses the meta-story:

As the size and power of government increase, we can expect more of society’s resources to go toward influencing government. And indeed that is exactly what we have witnessed.

More money in politics, a development so bemoaned by campaign finance “reformers,” is the natural outcome when federal spending increases by nearly 50 percent, after inflation, from 2001 to 2012. But as Margaret Thatcher almost said, eventually you run out of other people’s bribe money.

Fund exults over the frustrated gun-control advocates:

What delicious irony. Washington’s welfare state, which has benefited corporations and commoners alike, may be reaching its natural limits.

When some people—known as “special interests” if they give to causes you don’t like—use money to try to influence government policy, their giving is not itself a corruption but only a symptom of it. Do you really want to shrink the influence of special interests in politics, Fund asks. Then work to limit “the size and scope of government power” so that you restrict “the favors that government can dole out.”

Meanwhile, can someone please educate the mainstream media about giving? The New York Sun was almost the only place to point out, and laugh at, the griping of Mayor Bloomberg, a billionaire donor who has “poured millions into the fight” for gun control and now vows “to pour millions more.” Yet somehow in mediaspeak he’s not a “powerful special interest.” That  title is reserved for the National Rifle Association, which gets its money by persuading millions of ordinary citizens to donate $35 a year.

FOOTNOTE: For a thorough dissection of the funding of gun control advocates, see the report CRC published. It contains the amusing datum that the Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence lists Sarah Brady as “chair of the organization,” with compensation of $135,000 for an average of five hours work a week (or $519 an hour). For more thoughts on genuine campaign finance reform, try this.

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