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McCain Volunteer Tied to NRA 'Spygate'?

POSTED: 05:39 PM ET, 08/20/2008 by Derek Kravitz

Gun control activists are taking issue with a "high-level" McCain volunteer for his ties to a division of the National Rifle Association that allegedly hired a woman to spy on the anti-gun lobby, ABC News reports.

James Jay Baker, who currently serves as a member of McCain's Sportsman Committee, was executive director of the NRA's Institute for Legislative Action when it allegedly hired Mary Lou Sapone.

In an investigation published last month, Mother Jones magazine detailed how Sapone infiltrated the gun control community as "Mary McFate." The discovery of the Sapone's true identity "has caused the leaders of gun violence prevention organizations to conclude that for years they have been penetrated--at the highest levels--by the NRA or other pro-gun parties," the magazine reported.

When asked about Sapone, Baker told Mother Jones: "I don't have anything to say about any vendors at the NRA." Baker said his organization "got information from whatever sources we can," but that he didn't know of any infiltration of the gun control movement.

The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence is calling on McCain to "take a stand" on Baker and the NRA over the report, dubbed "Spygate." But it remains unclear what role, if any, Baker played in the spying scheme.

Nevertheless, the McCain campaign is seeking to distance itself from Baker, ABC News reports, saying he is not one of the candidate's chief advisers. In 2006, The New York Times described Baker as a member of McCain's growing "kitchen cabinet."

By Derek Kravitz |  August 20, 2008; 5:39 PM ET Other Investigations
Previous: Another Blow to Bush's EPA | Next: A New Report on Missing White House E-Mails

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and the problem is?

Posted by: joakes | August 21, 2008 7:54 AM

LOL! Another journalist "in the tank" for gun banning tries to drum up interest in this non-story. What's funny is that since this "scoop" on Baker broke LAST WEEK, McCain is UP over That Other Guy by several points. Anti-gun-owner journalists take note: that would be "a clue."

Posted by: K-Romulus | August 21, 2008 10:05 AM

It just goes to show how ridiculous the NRA and the gun "rights" movement is. They are all washed up and gun owners and hunters with any semblence of decency (see: the vast majority) can see right through stupid tricks like this. Just ridiculous

Posted by: KevinK | August 21, 2008 12:14 PM

same with the peace movement... and environmental groups.

Posted by: angriestdogintheworld | August 21, 2008 3:58 PM

So Mary McFate is a mole.

Wow, this story is so old its dead.

Newsflash: James Jay Baker hasn't been with the NRA-ILA in more than six years.

I doubt his "connection" to McFate is less troubling to most Americans than Obama's ties to William "Sane Bomber" Ayers or the Rev. Jeremiah Wright.

There are moles and then there are rats.

If you want to do something constructive you might try to explain how Josh Sugarman of the Violence Policy Center in D.C. has a Federal Firearms License at all.

Sugarman readily admits he isn't a stocking gun dealer.

He openly says he doesn't review or evaluate firearms.

In most cases, ATF automatically turns down FFL renewals for lack of inventory and sales. That is in other parts of the country.

However, there's an even broader question.

How does Sugarman maintain an FFL in a city with no existing gun shop zoning?

And how does he do it within three blocks of the U.S. Supreme Court?

Knowing the Post, they'll continue to make a big deal about McFate and hope they can tie her to Baker.

You've had three months to link them and you can't.

Sugarman's violations are here and now.

Perhaps the ATF is handling Sugarman with kid gloves?

Perhaps they don't want to upset gun banners who use their FFLs to only get into firearm trade shows?

Unlike McFate, Sugarman sticks out like a sore thumb.

But hey, existing ATF regs and D.C. zoning laws are being openly violated within effective small arms range of the Supreme Court Building.

In any other paper, this would be NEWS.

Posted by: bluesteel357 | September 29, 2008 12:33 AM

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