Campaigners for tougher controls on guns in the US are reeling from the allegation that a prominent member of the movement for more than a decade was a spy working for the powerful pro-gun lobby the National Rifle Association.
Mary Lou McFate sat on the board of two groups campaigning for greater controls, and tried to become a director of the national umbrella group of the movement, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. She was also linked with the circle of an international campaign on small arms trade based in London.
To the outrage of campaigners who worked with her, she has been outed by Mother Jones, the political magazine, as a paid plant for the NRA. An investigation by the magazine based on court documents suggests that she made contact with the NRA as early as 1999 and that the connection was sustained to this day.
Her alleged intelligence work for the gun lobby was partly organised through a defunct detective agency in Maryland. Beckett Brown International received $80,000 from the NRA in 1999 and 2000 for various services, court depositions show.
Illegal? Maybe. Fraudulent? Guaranteed. Sleazy? Of course…