Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is the Daddy Warbucks of the civilian disarmament movement. Yeah, I know…that’s an oxymoron. But anyone who thinks billionaire Bloomberg’s deep-pocketed support for gun control isn’t a clear and preset danger to Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms can take the oxy off that word and apply it to themselves. lasvegassun.com has looked into the finances of Nevadans for Background Checks — a group pushing a ballot initiative expanding background checks to virtually every firearm transaction — and found Mikey’s their main man . . .
Of the $3.6 million in contributions to Nevadans for Background Checks over the last two years, $2.9 million came from Everytown.
Other early big ticket contributions in 2014 included $250,000 from Napster co-founder and former Facebook president Sean Parker and $150,000 from Washington venture capitalist Nick Hanauer, the top individual contributor supporting his state’s background check initiative.
So the people without whom Nevadans for Background Checks wouldn’t exist aren’t Nevadans. That information’s not bound to please Silver State residents. Which is why scribe Megan Messerly’s story contains a good deal of dissembling. Like this:
Despite the national ties and national money flowing into the campaign, officials with Nevadans for Background Checks say the campaign is a local movement, spurred by Gov. Brian Sandoval’s 2013 veto of a bill that would have mandated checks on third-party sales.
“Everytown has provided some of the seed money for our organization and is a national partner,” campaign manager Joe Duffy said. “But, like I said, this is a Nevada campaign.”
As evidence of local support, the group points to the 250,000 signatures it received to get the initiative on the ballot — almost double the requirement — and some of the smaller contributions they have received that are not required to be itemized on campaign finance documents. The group collected more than 1,200 smaller donations of $500 or less from “grassroots contributors” in 2014 and more than 1,300 “unitemized donors” in 2015.
The biggest sums of local money pouring into the campaign come from Wynn Resorts and Caesar’s Enterprise Services, which donated $50,000 and $25,000, respectively, to the cause in 2015. (Myra Greenspun, wife of Brian Greenspun, the owner and publisher of Greenspun Media Group, donated $11,000 to the group in 2015.)
The organization also lists a number of prominent Nevadans on its advisory board, which is chaired by Elaine Wynn, co-founder of Wynn Resorts. Her name tops a list of almost 50 supporters of the initiative, including former U.S. Reps. Steven Horsford and Shelley Berkley; Steve Wynn; and Jan Jones Blackhurst, former Las Vegas mayor and Caesars executive vice president. Other supporters include religious leaders, law enforcement officials and advocates against domestic violence.
I’m notoriously bad at math, but if we start with the headline number ($3.6m raised) and subtract all the major contributions listed above ($3,386,000), then “grassroots” and “unitemized” donors account for $214,000 of Nevadans for Background Checks’ income.
If each of these small fry donated the theoretical maximum of $500, that yields 428 “small donors.” Just for fun triple the number (reflecting an average contribution of $166 per donor) and you’re looking at 1284 sub-$500 financial supporters for Nevadans for Background Checks.
Grass roots my tochas. Anyone want to guess how many dues-paying NRA members live in Nevada? There’s this . . .
The NRA has provided $43,000 in direct contributions and donation of resources to NRA Nevadans for Freedom, one of the official organizations registered to oppose the ballot initiative in the state and an NRA affiliate. Another group — Nevadans for State Gun Rights, affiliated with the Nevada Firearms Coalition — hasn’t received any contributions high enough to be reported to the state, though the coalition’s president, Don Turner, said the group had received “smaller grassroots amounts.”
Most of the NRA funds were directed toward printing and advertising costs, while Nevadans for State Gun Rights spent $16,000 on a public relations firm to help with messaging.
“We’re relying on our members in Nevada and some field representatives,” NRA spokeswoman Catherine Mortensen said. “It’ll be an old-fashioned campaign, grassroots.”
The NRA will appeal to the “libertarian sense of the state,” Mortensen said.
So there you have it: the same people who talk about the evil NRA buying Congress are outspending the NRA by a factor of 70 to one, thanks to liberal billionaires. The question is, will they win? The NRA might start pumping more money into the state depending on polling. At this point, Nevadans for Background Checks has garnered 250k signatures for their ballot initiative, so it’s on.