Did the NRA have a spy on $4,500/month retainer inside gun control groups like the Brady Campaign, and the Million Mom March? Mother Jones says deliciously-named activist Mary McFate was leading a double life:
McFate's (now former) colleagues note that she was well-positioned for many years to provide the NRA—or any other gun rights groups—the plans, secrets, and inside gossip of practically the entire gun violence prevention movement. "She had access to all the legislative strategy for every major issue for years," says [legislative director of the Violence Policy Center Kristen] Rand.
You've got to admire her dedication to her craft:
The 62-year-old former flight attendant and sex counselor from Sarasota, Fla., is not new to the world of informants.
She infiltrated an animal-rights group in the late 1980s at the request of U.S. Surgical, and befriended an activist who was later convicted in a pipe bomb attack against the medical-supply business, U.S. Surgical acknowledged in news reports at the time. U.S. Surgical had come under fire for using dogs for research and training.
What McFate did is probably not illegal: "Under some circumstances, it could be trespass," said Laurie Levenson, a professor at Loyola Law School in Los Angeles and a former prosecutor. But "if they're open meetings, it may be underhanded and sneaky; it may not be illegal." Which raises the question: Why doesn't this happen more often, or—if it does—why don't more people get caught?