For the third year in a row, NRA moved up in the top 10 of FORTUNE magazine's "Power 25," its listing of the most influential lobbying groups in America. I've attached the article compiled by Fortune's senior writer and Washington bureau chief Jeffrey H. Birnbaum. The "Power 25" is based on responses to a survey sent to nearly 2,700 individuals, including every member of Congress, Hill staffers, senior White House aides, professional lobbyists, and top-ranking officers of lobbying organizations and companies.

It's a worthwhile read, and provides information on several other groups, including the 6th ranked National Right-to-Life.

In 1998, NRA was ranked fourth on the list, moving up two spots from the sixth spot the year before. This year they improved by two more spots again, moving up to a tie for second most influential, just behind the AARP. Even more important, however, is the fact that NRA was ranked No. 1 by lawmakers and Hill staffers, the people who really count when it comes to effective lobbying.

Birnbaum correctly points out that NRA's influence starts with its nearly three million members, and he states, "[T]he NRA is a force with few equals in Washington." This sentiment was echoed as just the other day by anti-gun U.S. Rep. Diana DeGette (D-Colo.), who said, "I have never seen a lobby with more clout than the NRA." And on a somewhat amusing note, Handgun Control, Inc. (HCI) President Bob Walker was quoted as saying, "We (HCI) are the ones making progress, not the NRA. The NRA is basically running out of gas." This comment is amusing because, yet again, HCI failed to make its way onto the "Power 25" list, finishing in the bottom half of 114 groups tested.

Don't underestimate the value of NRA issues and the importance of NRA support.

Article Compliments of Mark Coyle, ever vigilant, WV GOP Communication Director, as appeared in the Fortune Magazine