Skip to comments.Michael Bloomberg gun control group site registered to N.Y.C.
Posted on 06/24/2013 1:46:02 PM PDT by neverdem
The name “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” is well known as Mike Bloomberg’s gun-control arm, which he spends his personal fortune through on ads. Yet 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.
(PHOTOS: Politicians speak out on gun control)
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.
At minimum, the use of a city web server and city employees underscore what critics have long derided as a blurring of the lines between government resources and Bloomberg’s own multi-billion-dollar fortune, his company, and his pet interests in his three terms as mayor.
Bloomberg aides strenuously pushed back on questions of propriety, insisting that there is a distinction between MAIG – which is the “broad coalition of 950 mayors” — and the MAIG “action fund,” which is the 501c4. The mayoral coalition, they argued, fits within the legislative priorities of Bloomberg’s administration.
“Mayor Bloomberg is the co-chair of the coalition of Mayors Against Illegal Guns,” said John McCarthy, a City Hall-based spokesman for Bloomberg who also handles elements of the group’s media output.
“Its activities are in the interest of keeping New York City safe. He is acting in his capacity as mayor of New York City,” he added. “Just as when he advocates for a bill in Albany that we want passed he is acting in his capacity as mayor, because he believes the bill is in the city’s interests. That is the prerogative of any mayor.”
Different mayors involved in the coalition often send out their own press releases on specific issues, Bloomberg aides said, although the MAIG website run by the city is the only such site for the coalition.
Questions about the website server were first raised by Ace of Spades blogger John Ekdahl.
The MAIG domain was registered in 2006, records show, as Bloomberg was entering his second term. His aides, seeking to increase his national profile, had turned to gun control as an issue on which he could establish a platform.
But it was not until the last two years that the group became much more politically active, and that work has ramped up substantially in the past six months. Bloomberg has spent more than $14 million this year through the group’s “action fund,” on a barrage of ads in an Illinois House special election and on spots against Democratic and Republican Senators who voted against the Senate gun-control bill a few weeks ago.
Domains related specifically to recent Washington legislative efforts are registered at demandaction.com and demandaction.org, Bloomberg aides said. Those are not registered by the city. (Because the registrants for those domains have been “cloaked,” it is not possible to confirm this.)
Still, one city government watchdog called the overlap with city resources needless.
“While the campaign activities may be supported and coordinated by the mayor’s office, given that it’s an independent nonprofit it is always cleaner to have a separation of operation like having a stand-alone website,” said Dick Dadey, head of the New York City-based good-government group Citizens Union.
The overlap between Bloomberg’s groups and the city are evident throughout the registration information for several of the websites associated with them.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org, which is believed to belong to Kandace V. Simmons, a mayoral appointee.
Another Bloomberg policy venture, the immigration group he co-founded with Rupert Murdoch, Partnership for a New American Economy, is also listed partially at Geller’s office. The site, renewoureconomy.org, also lists its registrant as “MAIG.”
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.
Long and DoITT spokesman Nick Sbordone declined comment, directing questions to others in city government.
Bloomberg makes me want to puke.
Self righteous POC!
Conflict of Interats
Clearly a misappropriation of tax payer’s money in order to thwart our Constitution
Some good news for a change, besides NYC's hatred of the Constitution, but I had to go hunting for Start-Up NY which idiot Cuomo has seen fit to get barely, if any, publicity. The first that I came across was a three sentence AP story.
FReepmail me if you want on or off my New York ping list.
Thanks for the ping!