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Senior Advisor To John McCain Oversaw Gun Lobby Office That Hired Spy

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A political consultant who serves as a senior advisor to presumptive Republican presidential nominee John McCain apparently oversaw a lobbying operation that hired a mole to infiltrate and spy on progressive opposition groups.


James Jay Baker, a longtime Republican political operative, served as executive director of the National Rifle Association’s Institute for Legislative Action (ILA) in the late 1990s and is still registered as a lobbyist for the NRA.


According to investigative journalism magazine Mother Jones, Baker’s deputy director at the ILA, Patrick O’Malley, supervised consultant Mary Lou Sapone, also known as Mary McFate.


Beginning in 1998, Sapone infiltrated the gun violence prevention movement and remained active in the movement until just over two weeks ago, when the magazine broke the story of her role as an NRA mole.


The National Rifle Association has refused to comment on the Sapone story since it broke.


“Senator McCain describes himself as a ‘straight talker’ and a critic of the Washington lobbying establishment,” said Paul Helmke, President of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence. “Senator McCain and his campaign need to answer whether or not they approve of this spying on victims, and whether they will ask Mr. Baker and the NRA to explain the extent of their involvement in these activities.”

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