July 2, 2013
Despite Vast Personal Wealth, Bloomberg Funds MAIG with Taxpayer Resources
It has come to light last week that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has been using New York City funds and resources to aid his private organization, Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG). The billionaire mayor already contributes the vast majority of the funding for the “MAIG Action Fund,” but it has now been revealed that he is using the City’s taxpayer money to fund MAIG itself — his own personal vendetta.
For a man of vast personal wealth, it is beyond comprehension that Bloomberg would waste New York City taxpayer resources to staff and fund a massive, national lobbying campaign to pursue his personal anti-gun agenda.
The New York Post reported that Bloomberg sent Christopher Kocher, an employee whose salary is paid with New York City tax dollars, to lobby Nevada legislators for stricter background checks on firearm purchases. Kocher, whose official title is special counselor to the mayor’s office, was sent as a representative for MAIG to lobby for a bill enforcing background checks on all firearm sales in that state.
Although Kocher is a New York City employee, he was not representing New York when he lobbied for MAIG interests in Nevada. Kocher even attempted to hide his involvement by scrubbing his City Hall email address from Nevada’s lobbying registration web site. NSSF has lodged a public records inquiry with the state of Nevada to find out why.
Bloomberg’s weak attempt to defend his abuse of city resources is that he believes MAIG’s goals are in New York City’s best interests. This begs the question: how does lobbying 2,000 miles away in Carson City, Nevada help the city? The Post quoted Gene Russianoff of the New York Public Interest Research Group said that NYC city lobbyists “deal with jurisdictions that have sway over our future, and Nevada does not.”
The first revelations that Bloomberg is misusing New York City assets to push his anti-gun agenda emerged with the report that the MAIG website is hosted on servers owned by the city of New York. MayorsAgainstIllegalGuns.org is registered by the New York City Department of Information and Technology.
So we have learned that not only is Bloomberg obsessed with imposing his nanny-state vision on the rest of the country, but that he is sending the bill for his crusade to oblivious city taxpayers. There is no excuse for using taxpayer resources to push his personal agenda. These latest actions of Mayor Bloomberg inch dangerously close to corruption.
Larry Keane is senior vice president and general counsel for the National Shooting Sports Foundation. Follow him on Twitter at @lkeane.