CPAC is currently having its annual shindig in Maryland. CPAC is run by the American Conservative Union, and the event needs lots of money to happen. But it's not grassroots organizations that are funding this event. It's heavy hitters and deep pockets.
Who's really sponsoring CPAC?
It's big energy companies, tobacco, and the NRA.
Rarely seen and previously unreported tax filings for the ACU and ACU Foundation, the group responsible for staging CPAC, reveal that in the 2010 tax year, the National Rifle Association provided $225,000 of the ACU Foundation's overall revenue. In 2010 the ACU Foundation reported $288,670 in grant revenue and $1,063,103 in "program service revenue." The NRA's executive vice president and CEO, Wayne LaPierre, has been a regular featured speaker at past CPAC events and he again spoke at the gathering on Thursday. The 2013 CPAC included an event titled "NRA University" at which CPAC attendees could "learn more about NRA, Second Amendment, gun control debate." It even offered participants "a FREE one-year NRA membership," according to the conference schedule. The NRA is a "presenting sponsor" at the 2014 conference--a sponsorship level requiring a $110,000 contribution.
In 2010 the billionaire Koch brothers' companies contributed a total of $50,000 to the ACU and the ACU Foundation. In the same year, cigarette giant Altria contributed $25,000 to the ACU, and the conservative Anschutz Foundation contributed $25,000 to the ACU Foundation.
So, if you've wondered why Wayne LaPierre gets to scowl and complain and cajole the audience to buy guns before the President takes them away, it's because the NRA paid for the spot.
Here's the list of other sponsors, and lots of familiar names.
Presenting sponsors require a contribution of $110,000 or more. They include: the NRA, One America News Network, Tea Party Patriots, Townhall Media/Regnery Publishing, and the Washington Times.
Associate Sponsors, which require $60,000 contributions are Koch Industries and a movie scheduled to come out May 9, 2014 "Persecuted".
Supporting Sponsors require $25,000 contributions, and include: Citizen Link (Focus on the Family), Heritage Foundation, How Money Walks, Intercollegiate Studies Institute, Liberty Alliance, MPAA, National Review, Red Alert Politics, and Tea Party News Network.
Contributing Sponsors, who pony up $18,000 include: The Blaze, Citizens United 25th Anniversary, Leadership Institute, Run Ben Run, and Red Card Guest Worker Permit.
Participating Sponsors, which is the lowest tier at $9,000, include: Americans for Prosperity, ChooseEnergy.org, Ashbrook Ashland University, Sarah Palin's new tv show, AECR, 60 Plus, BDMR, College Republicans National Committee, Christians United for Israel, Competitive Enterprise Institute, Americans for Tax Reform, Eagle Forum, Eberle Associates, Empower Action Group, Fabrizio Lee, Facebook, Gravis Marketing, Convert! Integrated Marketing, GWU Graduate School of Political Management, Freedom Alliance, Let Freedom Ring, Policy Issues Institute, Justice Fellowship, TMA Direct, Turning Point USA, Unfairmovie.com (aka the anti-IRS movie), 780 WAVA 105.1, 1260 WRC talk radio, and Young America's Foundation.
Sponsorship levels are here.. Sponsors by level are here.