By Dave Workman
ABC News has reported that anti-gun billionaire Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety has contributed another $1 million to the campaign to pass Initiative 594 in Washington State, bringing the total contributions from the lobbying organization to $2 million.
According to the Washington Public Disclosure Commission, Everytown contributed $1 million to the I-594 campaign on Aug. 28. This donation brings the I-594 contribution total to nearly $9 million, which eclipses the comparatively modest $1.3 million raised so far by backers of rival Initiative 591.
Despite this overwhelming financial obstacle, gun rights advocate Alan Gottlieb, heading up the campaign I-591, told TGM that this signals the gun control camp may be worried.
With ballots going out in the mail sometime in mid-October, Gottlieb – who heads the Protect Our Gun Rights/Yes on 591 campaign and also is chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms – said this new money is an indication that I-594 backers “must be running scared.”
He said it appears that increasing numbers of Washington voters are “actually reading all 18 pages of I-594.” As a result, he said people are “turning against it.”
I-594 is an 18-page gun control measure that is backed by the well-financed Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility (WAGR), a Seattle-based gun control group pushing for so-called “universal background checks” on all firearms transfers, including loans and gifts, not just sales. Major contributions have come from wealthy elitists including Bloomberg, Microsoft founders Bill Gates and Paul Allen, former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and venture capitalist Nick Hanauer.
A story in the Spokane Spokesman-Review several weeks ago indicated that a majority of the campaign money has come from ten Seattle-area zip codes. There are numerous contributions of $10,000 or more reported to the Public Disclosure Commission.
Gottlieb was in Spokane when news of the Everytown contribution broke, fielding questions from the Spokesman-Review editorial board. This was one day after the Tri-City Herald recommended in an editorial that voters should reject I-594 because it goes too far. The newspaper also suggested a “No” vote on I-591.
The Puget Sound Business Journal published an Everytown press release quoting WAGR campaign manager Zach Silk, who said the infusion of money will be used “to make the case to Washington voters that we can reduce crime and help save lives this November.” But there are questions about whether the initiative will actually accomplish that, or merely burden law-abiding gun owners with more paperwork, while possibly trapping them in a confusing regulatory scheme that really is aimed at expanding the state’s handgun registry.
KXLY in Spokane did a story on I-594 that was ostensibly a “fact check.” It confirmed that the state pistol registry would be expanded.
According to ABC News, the additional funds will “go towards TV ads, mail and get-out-the-vote efforts.” Already outspent more than seven-to-one, grassroots rights activists backing I-591 and opposing I-594 now face the prospect of having their message drowned out. But maybe not.
The National Rifle Association has released a blistering video that must be having an impact, because the Everytown press release appearing in the Business Journal specifically mentioned the video and alleged that it is “filled with lies.” That video features comments from two county sheriffs, Alan Botzheim of Pend Oreille County and Ozzie Knezovich of Spokane County.