February 11, 2016

It is time to demand that the NRA open their books and come clean about how much of this so-called "patriot movement" they are supporting. Take, for example, Gavin Seim, the broadcaster who kept the live stream of the remaining four Bundy militia members' surrender going, while bringing in Michele Fiore and Franklin Graham, of all people.

To quote the "patriots'" favorite book, by their fruits, shall ye know them. In this case, Seim's "fruits" appear to be in line with the same goals as the NRA.

Gavin Seim is the online broadcaster who kept the live stream of the last four Bundy militia patriots going after Peter Santilli went off to jail. You heard him here this morning, making outlandish claims while trying to talk militant David Fry off his ledge at the Malheur Preserve.

David Neiwert pinpointed Seim awhile ago, and has been reporting on him since 2014.

Accordingly, many of them referenced violent action in defense of their gun rights as the ultimate response to what they see as tyranny.

“Make no mistake: If we do not stand up, America, our children and our grandchildren will take back liberty at the price of blood!” intoned Gavin Seim, the Ephrata, Wa.-based “liberty speaker” and chief organizer of the event.

Again, Seim cropped up when he attempted to "intervene" in a traffic violation case:

The protesters were there to observe the proceedings in a traffic case involving Tavis Shasteen, 19, who had been cited in October after being briefly arrested for refusing to give his license information to a deputy who had pulled him over for speeding. Since, Seim had turned the case into an antigovernment cause celebre.

According to the Omak Chronicle, Seim attempted to represent Shasteen in the court proceeding, even though he is not a licensed attorney. Seim also protested loudly when McCauley told the spectators they would not be permitted to broadcast the proceedings online.

“Seim began yelling at the judge and walking toward her bench,” Sheriff Harvey Gjesdal said. McCauley “ordered him removed from the courtroom.”

Seim posted a couple of accounts of the arrest at his website. One, written by his brother Nathan, claimed he was “kidnapped from a courtroom” by the deputies. It also described how various fellow “patriots” in the courtroom stood up and attempted to block the deputies as they carried Gavin Seim out.

And finally, there is Seim's insistence on spreading the lie that Robert "Lavoy" Finicum was murdered with his hands up when the video clearly shows he was not.

Northwest “Patriot” leaders also chimed in. “It’s a dark day in America, a dark day for liberty,” said Washington “liberty speaker” Gavin Seim, who warned that “we stand on the brink of revolution.”

“We can no longer allow the government to murder and abuse and terrorize,” he declared in a video released Wednesday. “Will we allow this government to continue slaughtering, and to set an example that we must bow to them alone? …

“These criminals spilled the blood of patriots,” he continued. “They declared war on law and liberty. And this has been coming for a long time.”

Peter Santilli, now in jail facing federal charges of conspiracy, is trying to get the ACLU to intervene in his case, claiming he was no more than just an embedded reporter.

However, Santilli has a long history of associations with the NRA and other "liberty groups," going back years and years. He also has a colorful way of stirring people up over their gun rights and more, while also threatening those who disagree with him. For example, there was the time he threatened to "shoot Hillary Clinton in the vagina." His radio show had frequent NRA guests and also featured advertising from them on his YouTube page.

For years now, these "Patriots" have been able to move around the country, broadcasting live with no visible means of support. Selling reverse mortgages, as Santilli did for awhile, might keep the bills paid but it certainly won't fund an opulent lifestyle. Seim appears to be a young guy with no job beyond watering the trees of liberty with other "patriots'" blood, sweat and tears. So how does he pay the bills?

My instincts aren't enough in this situation. Intuitively, I believe the NRA probably funds these guys directly or indirectly, either through ad buys on their shows or through other means of support. Grants, contract deals, whatever. The problem is, we can't know whether they do or don't fund them without a full, transparent, and public audit.

Not only does the NRA fail to report grants to other organizations and the totality of their political spending, they are also not required to disclose the corporations who underwrite their political spending. Never mind that they've spent five times more since the Citizens United decision than they did before, citizens are currently not entitled to know who is paying for "speech" from the likes of Gavin Seim and Pete Santilli.

This kind of spending is even worse than campaign donations, because it is funding a particular malevolence and feeding into the paranoid politics of our day. We should at least have a right to know who is paying for all that subversion.

I have created a petition at the White House petition site, calling for a public audit of the NRA. I need 100,000 signatures by March 12, 2016 to receive a response. Please sign and share it.

Audit the NRA

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