Former U.S. Representative Gabrielle “Gabby” Giffords (D-Arizona) and her husband Mark Kelly founded Giffords PAC (originally Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC) to elect supporters of gun control to public office. It supports candidates through endorsements, campaign donations, and independent expenditures, usually through radio, television, and digital advertising.
Giffords PAC has given a large majority of its endorsements and financial support to Democrats, becoming a “ruthless attack dog.” A Giffords PAC advertisement implying Republican candidate Martha McSally was culpable in a murder in 2014 was condemned by the centrist Arizona Republic as “base and vile.” The left-leaning Politifact criticized a Giffords PAC ad targeting then-U.S. Senator Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) for taking facts about Ayotte’s voting record on gun policy out of context.
In 2013, former U.S. Representative Gabby Giffords, who had been shot and seriously wounded in 2011, and her husband Mark Kelly started Americans for Responsible Solutions to promote more aggressive gun-control laws. Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC served as the openly political affiliate of Americans for Responsible Solutions with Americans for Responsible Solutions Foundation serving as a tax-deductible 501(c)(3) entity for non-electoral advocacy.
In 2017, the Americans for Responsible Solutions Foundation was renamed Giffords, and the Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC became Giffords PAC. Giffords PAC is classified as a “Carey Committee,” a hybrid of a traditional PAC and a Super PAC which is allowed both to make Federal Election Campaign Act-limited contributions to candidates and Citizens United-authorized unlimited independent expenditures on advocacy on behalf of candidates.
Democratic Party Alignment
Giffords PAC claims to be bipartisan; however, Giffords PAC has overwhelmingly supported Democrats and opposed Republicans in both endorsements and financial support.
Giffords PAC endorsed a few Republican candidates on the federal level in 2014 (Senator Susan Collins (R-Maine) and U.S. Rep. Michael Fitzpatrick (R-Pennsylvania)) and 2016 (Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pennsylvania)). In 2016, it endorsed Democratic candidate Ted Strickland for U.S. Senate from Ohio and 18 other Democrats for the House of Representatives. It endorsed 27 Democratic candidates running for state office in 2016.
In 2017, Giffords PAC endorsed Democrats Ralph Northam for governor, Justin Fairfax for lieutenant governor, and Mark Herring for attorney general in Virginia, along with 12 Democrats for the Virginia House of Delegates. It endorsed Democrat Phil Murphy for governor of New Jersey. It also endorsed Democratic candidates for mayor in Albuquerque and Boston.
In 2014, Giffords PAC spent $6,251,336 on independent expenditures supporting Democrats and opposing Republicans but spent only $633,439 supporting Republicans.
In 2016, it gave $74,805 in campaign contributions to Democratic candidates and spent $2,759,842 on independent expenditures for Democrats or against Republicans. It contributed no financial support to Republicans that year.
Republicans only received six percent (four) of Giffords PAC’s endorsements, while Democrats received 94 percent. Of the $10,177,922 Giffords PAC made in campaign contributions and independent endorsements, only about six percent went to support Republicans; the other 94 percent supported Democrats or opposed Republicans. This is lopsidedly partisan for an organization which claims to be bipartisan.
Additionally, in 2014, House Majority PAC, a Democratic Party leadership-aligned Super PAC which exists to elect and re-elect Democrats to the U.S. House of Representatives, made a large donation to Giffords PAC, and Giffords PAC made a large donation to the House Majority PAC.
A 2014 advertisement opposing Republican candidate Martha McSally (R-Arizona) claimed that McSally opposed laws that made it difficult for stalkers to obtain guns. McSally had herself been a victim of stalking and supported all current laws against stalkers having access to firearms. The Arizona Republic, which had endorsed Giffords in prior election campaigns for Congress, characterized the advertisement as “base and vile,” “a nasty piece of work,” and “[d]emagoguery in heart-rending tones.”
Giffords PAC ran a 2016 ad opposing Kelly Ayotte’s re-election to the U.S. Senate. It claimed that the gun lobby funded her campaigns and controlled her votes on gun-related legislation. The left-leaning fact checking service Politifact New Hampshire found that gun rights groups’ donations to and independent expenditures on behalf of Ayotte’s campaigns over her political career to that point totaled about $80,000. This was less than one percent of the money she had raised over her political career. The group rated Giffords PAC’s claims as “half-true.”
Former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords is a co-founder of Giffords. She came to national prominence after she survived being shot during an attempted assassination. She would later resign from Congress to concentrate on her rehabilitation. She started the Americans for Responsible Solutions network of gun control organizations (later renamed after her) in 2013.
Mark Kelly, Gabby Giffords husband, co-founded Giffords and frequently speaks on behalf of the organization. He is a former U.S. Navy pilot and astronaut.
Peter Ambler is the Executive Director of Giffords. He was previously a congressional staffer working for Rep. Giffords. He also served as an advisor to Obama administration Secretary of Energy Steven Chu in 2012. He has worked with the Americans for Responsible Solutions/Giffords network since its founding in 2013.
When Giffords PAC first started as Americans for Responsible Solutions PAC in 2013, it received several large donations in the hundreds of thousands from major left-of-center donors including former mayor of New York Michael Bloomberg (I) and Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff. It received a total of $21,343,357 for the 2014 election cycle. It has received fewer large donations in the 2016 cycle.
As the larger donations and overall amount of giving have decreased, Giffords PAC has spent a larger proportion of its funding on fundraising. In the 2014 election cycle, fundraising took 26 percent of its funding; in the 2016 election cycle, fundraising costs increased to 34 percent. Including salaries and administrative expenses, overhead costs totaled 36 percent for the 2014 election cycle,  and 53 percent for the 2016 cycle. 
Giffords PAC receives a significant proportion of its funding through liberal political fundraising platform ActBlue.