Bloomberg Using Taxpayer Resources to Help Sponsor Anti-Gun Websites
(Leah Barkoukis) Anti-gun Mayor Michael Bloomberg spends millions of his personal fortune fighting for gun control through his group Mayors Against Illegal Guns. But there’s one problem. According to Politico, the group’s website “is registered to, and handled by, official city government servers and staffers.”
Domain names for MAIG were registered in 2006 by the New York City Department of Information and Technology, and have remained on official city web servers ever since.
Yet the group’s “action fund,” through which he has piped at least $14 million of his own money in ads over gun control this year alone, is registered as a 501c4, a nonprofit “social welfare” group with the same tax status as, say, the Karl Rove-linked Crossroads GPS or Organizing for Action, President Obama’s grassroots arm. And it raises questions about why a website associated with the group is being managed by City Hall.
In fact, the various pieces of the mayor’s efforts appear as a confusing muddle online, with sites that are ostensibly not part of the 501c4 nonetheless being visually dominated by entreaties to click through to the ones that are. There’s little indication that these are different entities with different oversight.
What is clear, however, is that city resources should not be used fighting for Bloomberg’s personal, political agenda. Unfortunately, that appears to be the case:
Two domains – mayorsagainstillegalguns.com and mayorsagainstillegalguns.org – both list the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications as the registrants. The administrative and technical contact for the dot-com version lists the email of Chris Long, the city’s director of web operations and strategy. The dot-org version lists a phone number that goes to the DoITT line of Daniel Sbernick, who retired as the city’s chief information security officer last month.
Maig.org, a domain that isn’t advertised anywhere but feeds to the anti-gun group’s site, lists its registrant as Geller & Co., the firm of Bloomberg’s personal accountant. Yet the registrant’s e-mail is email@example.com, which is believed to belong to Kandace V. Simmons, a mayoral appointee. […]
Both renewoureconomy.org and MAIG.org had the same phone number. When POLITICO called, the man who answered acknowledged it belonged to both organizations. He said he’d pass along a message along to MAIG’s spokeman, whom he identified as Alex Katz. Katz, among the spokespeople for MAIG, is a city employee.
Since April, MAIG has been spending millions on radio and television ad buys targeting Senators that voted against the failed universal background check bill. Most recently, however, the group launched the “No More Names” bus tour that’s traveling to 25 states in 100 days to press for more gun laws and commemorate victims of gun violence. Last week, one of the “victims” on the list was Tamerlan Tsarnaev—who, along with his brother Dzhokhar, was responsible for the Boston Marathon bombings. I suppose that’s not surprising given that one in 12 on Bloomberg’s “gun victims” list “are crime suspects killed by police or armed citizens acting in self-defense.”