By Lee Williams
SAF Investigative Journalism Project
The American Independent is a website that claims it is the “No. 1 digital platform for progressive news, reaching millions of people each month.”
“We strive to report with honesty and integrity, shining a light on those in power and the progressive politics movement,” the website claims. Unfortunately for its progressive readers, the website falls far short of its lofty claims.
In a story published Tuesday titled: “GOP senators opposing Biden’s ATF pick took tens of thousands of dollars from gun lobby,” the liberal website accuses the 11 Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee of “promoting a disinformation campaign” against David Chipman, the Biden-Harris administration’s nominee for director of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
These 11 Republicans, the website alleges, have taken campaign contributions from the “gun lobby.”
“All 11 senators pushing for a second hearing based on the allegations — which have been promoted by the NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the Second Amendment Foundation — have received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions by those groups in their last few reelection campaigns,” the website alleges.
This is a flat-out lie.
The Second Amendment Foundation is incorporated as a 501(c)3 nonprofit, and is incapable of making any campaign donations.
“We make no political contributions,” said SAF founder and Executive Vice President Alan M. Gottlieb. “This is a complete fabrication – they lied.”
The American Independent has no phone number associated with its website, unlike most real journalism websites, so the Second Amendment Foundation demanded a correction through the website’s internal “contact us” message page:
In your story titled: “GOP senators opposing Biden’s ATF pick took tens of thousands of dollars from gun lobby,” which was published yesterday, you have an egregious error of fact. Your story alleges that the Second Amendment Foundation made campaign contributions to 11 Republican Senators. This is an outright lie. As a 501(c)3, the Second Amendment Foundation cannot and does not make campaign contributions. Please contact me via email when the correction is published.
As of noon Wednesday, the error had been changed to read “All 11 senators pushing for a second hearing based on the allegations — which have been promoted by the NRA, the National Shooting Sports Foundation, and the Second Amendment Foundation — have received tens of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions by two of those groups in their last few reelection campaigns.
“According to campaign finance data, Grassley, Lindsey Graham (R-SC), John Cornyn (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Ted Cruz (R-TX.), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Josh Hawley (R-MO), Tom Cotton (R-AR), John Kennedy (R-LA), Thom Tillis (R-NC), and Marsha Blackburn (R-TN.) received more than $130,000 from the NRA since 2016, and $48,000 from the National Shooting Sports Foundation.”
The American Independent has added this footnote to its story: “This story has been updated to clarify that the GOP senators only received donations from the NRA and the National Shooting Sports Foundation.”
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