votevets astroturf democrats bloomberg gun control progressives
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by Lee Williams

VoteVets is a hybrid political action group that operates as both a PAC and a Super PAC by donating money directly to political campaigns, and by raising and spending unlimited amounts of cash for “independent expenditures,” such as ad campaigns that target conservative candidates and issues, while supporting liberal issues and politicians.

The organization operates two groups, the VoteVets PAC and the VoteVets Action Fund. Its stated mission is to “to elect veterans to public office,” but in actuality it only backs liberals. All of the candidates VoteVets supports for federal, state and local offices are Democrats, and all of the issues it supports promote a liberal agenda.

Since it was formed in 2006, VoteVets has spent more than $120 million. Nearly half went for radio and television ads. According to, VoteVets receives money from the Democrats and Bloomberg: “The PAC’s top three donors in 2018 were the Senate Majority PAC, the House Majority PAC and Bloomberg L.P. The organizations contributed $4.5 million, $2.2 million and $1.5 million, respectively.”

While pretending to advocate on behalf of veterans and veterans’ issues, in reality VoteVets operates in lockstep with other anti-gun groups funded by Bloomberg’s cash. To be clear, VoteVets advocates for more anti-gun laws and restrictions even though most veterans own guns and strongly support the Second Amendment.

votevets astroturf democrats bloomberg gun control progressives

While VoteVets funds lobbying efforts, it’s the group’s liberal public-issue campaigns – which are usually not fully disclosed or attributed – that the mainstream media laps up like hungry dogs.

“They have really been punching above their weight this election cycle,” Rachel Maddow, MSNBC’s highest-paid news actor said of VoteVets.

Hoodwinking readers

The Washington Post and scores of other newspapers recently published an opinion column, which was actually just the latest VoteVets public-issue campaign.

The headline was damning: “3 retired generals: The military must prepare now for a 2024 insurrection.”

votevets astroturf democrats bloomberg gun control progressives

“The signs of potential turmoil in our armed forces are there. On Jan. 6, a disturbing number of veterans and active-duty members of the military took part in the attack on the Capitol. More than 1 in 10 of those charged in the attacks had a service record. A group of 124 retired military officials, under the name “Flag Officers 4 America,” released a letter echoing Donald Trump’s false attacks on the legitimacy of our elections,” the column states.

It called on the Department of Defense to take “more intensive intelligence work at all installations.”

“The goal should be to identify, isolate and remove potential mutineers; guard against efforts by propagandists who use misinformation to subvert the chain of command; and understand how that and other misinformation spreads across the ranks after it is introduced by propagandists,” the generals wrote.

The column followed a similar bit of anti-Trump 2024 fearmongering, which was published by Newsweek, titled: “Millions of Angry, Armed Americans Stand Ready to Seize Power If Trump Loses in 2024.”

votevets astroturf democrats bloomberg gun control progressives

In the Washington Post story, VoteVets received only an oblique mention – certainly not full disclosure – in the authors’ byline: “Paul D. Eaton, a retired U.S. Army major general and a senior adviser to VoteVets; Antonio M. Taguba, a retired Army major general, with 34 years of active-duty service, and Steven M. Anderson, a retired brigadier general who served in the U.S. Army for 31 years.”

What the Post and the other media platforms that republished the syndicated column did not tell their readers was that the entire piece was little more than VoteVets’ ongoing political agitprop, and that two of the three generals are thinly veiled political activists, and apparently far more interested in partisan politics than they ever were the welfare of the troops who served under their command.

The newspapers never mentioned that after he retired in 2006, Major General Easton strongly criticized the Bush Administration on multiple media platforms for its handling of the Iraq War. Nor was it disclosed that he served as a special advisor to both Hilary Clinton’s and Barack Obama’s presidential campaigns.

In 2004, Major General Taguba was assigned to investigate allegations of mistreatment at Iraq’s Abu Ghraib prison. His report, which was extremely critical, was almost immediately leaked to the media.

The stories served as an inspiration for the Iraqi insurgency and, ultimately, cost American lives. It is still a rallying cry for our foes throughout the Middle East. After the leak was investigated, Taguba was ordered by the Army’s Vice Chief of Staff to retire. This fact, too, never made it into print.

Ignorant beginnings

VoteVets has a long history of advocating for more gun control.

In 2012, VoteVets chairman Jon Stolz wrote a scathing op-ed column about the Trayvon Martin case, titled: “Shoot First Laws: Even troops in war zones can’t do that.” Stolz’s column, which was widely republished, excoriated “Stand Your Ground” laws in Florida and other states.

“The Trayvon Martin case has gripped the nation and forced the country to re-examine our gun laws. But the horrible affair has struck me in another way, because of my two tours in Iraq,” Stolz wrote. “One fact stands out in my mind: The ‘Stand Your Ground’ law in Florida, which may let George Zimmerman off the hook for the killing of Martin, gives more leeway to shooters than our own military gives to soldiers in war.”

The problem with Stolz’s column is that his premise is 100% wrong. The Trayvon Martin shooting was never a “Stand Your Ground” case. Zimmerman never invoked the immunity the statute provides. Stolz’s subsequent comparisons between Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law and the military’s Rules of Engagement were completely moot.

One year later, VoteVets joined with Giffords, Michael Bloomberg and Bloomberg’s proxy group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, in opposing the 2013 Colorado recall, which successfully removed two Democratic state senators who supported new gun-control legislation. VoteVets ran ads speaking, falsely, on behalf of the veterans’ community.

It was the first time a Colorado lawmaker had ever been recalled.

‘Good’ anti-gun messengers

In 2018, VoteVets barnstormed across the country with Gabby Giffords’ anti-gun group.

“We’re hitting the campaign trail with @VoteVets! Ahead of this year’s election,” Giffords tweeted on Aug. 20, 2018. The two groups supported anti-gun candidates in Pennsylvania, Colorado, California, New Jersey, Virginia and Kentucky.

“For a long time, Democrats have been playing defense on issue of gun safety,” Dan Helmer, VoteVets vice-president told a McClatchy newspaper. “We see a trend across the country where, increasingly, the American people are demanding change.”

VoteVets and Giffords both said veterans make “especially good messengers for policies that restrict access to guns.”

“They have the ‘platform and credibility’ to talk about the issue,” Helmer said. “No one more than vets know just how deadly some of these weapons can be. Nor have others proven so dedicated to defending the country.”

Giffords and VoteVets called the candidates they supported “part of a new generation of leaders challenging gun-lobby backed politicians.”

“Military veterans know that weapons of war have no place in our schools, in our places of worship, at concerts, at night clubs and in our communities. Too many in Congress are afraid to take on the NRA and pass meaningful legislation supported by the overwhelming majority of Americans to reduce gun violence,” Helmer said in a joint press release. “The veteran candidates we are meeting with on this tour have already answered the call of duty once and bravely stood up to defend and serve this nation. They have the courage to stand up to the NRA and fight for legislation to protect our communities from the epidemic of gun violence. We are proud to partner with Captain Kelly and Giffords on this tour.”

Democrats’, not veterans’ issues

According to its Facebook page, VoteVets claims to be “the first and largest progressive group of veterans in America.”

“We represent over 1.5 million veterans, military families, and their civilian supporters,” the site states.

However, the issues posted on Facebook and its other social media accounts reveal that the group is far more aligned with the Democrat Party than any veterans’ community – even a progressive one.

votevets astroturf democrats bloomberg gun control progressives

VoteVets advocates for vaccine mandates, “accountability” for the Jan. 6 protest, Joe Biden’s “Build Back Better” plan, climate change, abortion rights, Biden’s withdrawal from Afghanistan, critical race theory, LGBT issues, voting rights and of course more gun control.

Biden and Kamala Harris receive nothing but praise, while Donald Trump and other Republican lawmakers receive nothing but criticism – intense criticism.

votevets astroturf democrats bloomberg gun control progressives

Real veterans’ issues, such as the dysfunction of the VA, civilian job resources, post-traumatic stress disorder, suicide prevention, POW/MIA, disability benefits and illnesses caused by burn-pit exposure, are rarely, if ever, mentioned.

To be clear, VoteVets regurgitates nothing but leftist and liberal talking points rather than advocating for veterans, as it claims.


It’s no secret why anti-gun groups believe veterans would make good messengers for their rhetoric. Veterans have credibility that they never will. Unfortunately for Giffords, Brady, and Bloomberg, most veterans are too politically savvy to fall for their anti-rights shenanigans.

Besides, every veteran I know owns guns – every single one. While I’m sure there are some who don’t, I’ve never met one, but I’ll admit I tend not to run in those circles. Vets, especially those who served in the combat arms, understand the importance of being able to defend themselves and their families, which is why they are such strong protectors of the Second Amendment.

VoteVets has its supporters, of that I am sure, but the group doesn’t speak on behalf of the vast majority of veterans, and they certainly don’t speak for me. Quite frankly, I find what they’re doing – pushing a liberal agenda under the guise of advocating for veterans – sickening. It’s time for them to stop pretending they’re working on our behalf.


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This story is part of the Second Amendment Foundation’s Investigative Journalism Project and is published here with their permission.

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  1. In their battle to control your life there is no trick too dirty…no lie too great for a Progressive to commit themselves to.

    For examples please see Shannon Watts and her red-shirted Mothers of Invention…and all the rest of the pathetic people who use tragedies to build their personal egos, fame and fortunes.

  2. Funded by Bloomberg and Soros…these so called PACs are like a hall of mirrors. All with high sounding names and all with the same base intent – phony grassroots organizations pushing these authoritarian billionaire’s policies. Thanks to SCOTUS the very wealthiest people in the Country get to flood the zone with their political contributions.

    It really seems like we’re living in the illusion of a constitutional republic when in reality we’ve devolved into some wicked blend of an oligarchy and corporate fascist state. Average people don’t have much say in how things are run….that’s for sure.

    • Ticked Off,

      It really seems like we’re living in the illusion of a constitutional republic when in reality we’ve devolved into …

      The sad reality of the world is, “He who has the gold makes the rules.” And another sad reality of the world, or more specifically of the United States, is that a small number of people, who have goals which are destructive for the populace, have achieved massive fortunes in the last several decades.

      No matter how wonderful, obviously righteous and good, and universally supported an ideal is, there will always be plenty of people who are quite willing to violate said ideal if it is profitable for them. Thus, the sad reality is that very wealthy people will always have the ability to assemble their own personal “army” to thrust their desires upon the populace.

      Important note: when I said “army”, I am referring to both militants/mercenaries as well as employees (both private sector and government) such as “journalists”, publishers, lawyers, prosecutors, judges, bureaucrats, and even law enforcement officers.

  3. Astroturf organization. Play up the “grassroots” membership, but obscure the billionaires funding it.

    Keep buying firearms and ammo, and encourage your friends and family to do the same.

    • I’d like to hear if they actually support any actual veterans for office. Because I pretty much doubt it.

  4. As much as I’d like to say ignoramus’ who default to “hurr durr vets, I support vets” deserve what they’re getting it’s unfair that the actions of those morons affect my life.

  5. Weapons of War image:

    Yes, they do belong on our streets and in our homes. And anywhere or anytime else that kind of firepower might be needed.

    • Gunny your right we should be able to have whatever we want from a sword to a aircraft carrier. Anything you can afford. Have always wanted a mk.19… just for fun.

  6. “We see a trend across the country where, increasingly, the American people are demanding change.”

    Yes, the American people do want change. Change from all this insanity the left keeps pushing.

    It’s all just propaganda and lies.

    There isn’t much in life a person can really be sure of. One thing I am sure of though is that it doesn’t matter who spends what money, I’ve made up my mind as to where my vote goes. That was a decision I made long before Trump entered politics. He has nothing to do with anything. Neither does the NRA. If they both disappeared tomorrow, it would not changed what I am. I see no reason it should.

    You take an oath to defend and protect this country and then align with those that try to destroy it and you become the problem. If you can’t tell the difference then your oath isn’t worth much.

  7. There are a LOT of traitors doing a LOT of treasonous things regarding their oath to protect the constitution and the country. Then there’s the ones that never took the oath.

  8. ALWAYS dig deep into an organization before you give em a dollar! Far too many of these devious sleazebags out there these days!!

  9. Anyone who supports Gun Control supports an agenda that history clearly confirms is rooted in racism and genocide. In other words…Gun Control is a turd in the punch bowl.

  10. Geez stop using the word “liberal”. They’re Leftards bunky. Nothing better…man this an endless article.

    • “Liberal.” “Progressive.” “Leftists.” “Leftards.” No, call them what they are. Communists.

  11. I’m a Veteran, was in Baghdad in ’03’ right behind 3rd ID. Did a total of 23yrs and some change. 14 of them as Infantry. Wings, Torch, and a bunch of other stuff. That chapter in my life is closed but I’ll tell you that ‘VoteVets’ can ‘eff’ right off as they do not represent me or anyone else I served with. Just wanted to make that clear.

    And as for the little troll that seems to back comment…….Show your 214 or STFU.

  12. Higher than norma concentration of progs in the AirForce and Navy. He someone states as a qualification talk about firearms “I was in the military” you can make book you was AF or Navy.

    “I was in the Army” or “I were a Jarhead” is a mark of distinction who likely knows what end of the barrel the pointy thing comes out of.

    • Officer corps can tend more towards progressive (college has some influence) but the higher up the chain and the more administration changes (where they are not purged) you tend to find more politicians wrapped in a uniform. A very quick test is to see if the officer in question is a member (less likely now) or has ever written for/supported anything in the Council of Foreign Relations. The other end is just simple corruption/greed with contracts and later employment with contractors but that is sometimes a different issue.

    • @neiowa: “… “I were a Jarhead”…” — Are you mocking Marines and their alleged poor grasp of English? 😉

  13. “The military must prepare now for a 2024 insurrection.”

    I have no doubt that at least some in the military are preparing for a coup d’état should Trump run and win in 2024. They’re not “woke” — they’re traitors.

  14. Strange how after 22 years in the Army, many years active with both the VFW and Legion, I have met exactly 0 pro gun control vets. Even those who could happily live out their lives never hearing a gunshot, or even seeing a gun of any sort still supported the Costitutional rights of those who choose to excersize their second ammendment rights.
    Any vet who espouses such political ideals needs to be reminded of their oath and informed they either adhere to that oath, or be foresworn and be completely dishonored and a disgrace to the uniform and country they served. To the best of my knowledge, none of us who swore our oath to defend the Constitution have ever been relived of that oath.

    • Closest I ever knew was one that was a municipal cop somewhere in Delaware (Newport maybe), he really did not like the idea of either the belt fed AR or the semi auto 249. Apparently too easy to convert to full auto or some such nonsense and I really would love to hear his current opinions on glocks and

    • Until recently I’ve never known a veteran who believes in gun control… and then I met my new girlfriend’s stepfather a couple years ago. Former Army enlisted man, and a Vietnam vet. He loves to shoot his muzzleloaders, but at the same time believes that no one should be allowed to own anything with a rate of fire higher than they possess… I simply can’t comprehend that level of disconnect.

      We both thought it was a bit hilarious (albeit sad) to see his reaction when she recently won, in a raffle from the local volunteer fire department, a genuine Colt AR15-A4! Predictably, he said things like “weapons of war” and “no one should have that unless they’re going to war with it.”

      The worst part is, he’s been a resident of Kenosha WI for more than 30 years – and of course, thinks Kyle Rittenhouse is a murderer despite all the video evidence… SMH

  15. Notice this very important “directive” from the Vote Vets opinion article:

    The goal should be to identify, isolate and remove potential mutineers [from the U.S. military] …

    I have the sinking feeling that is code for, “Remove military personnel with solid conservative values.” Am I right?

    • That would be a solid “no” from me, you can claim anyone (literally) is a *potential* mutineer, but we do not convict people of what they *might* become. Once they actively participate in an ACTUAL MUTINY, then court-martial and hang them. Literally, I doubt it would ever happen.

  16. Very plainly said….”smoke’n mirrors”….that two word phrase: means irrelevant or misleading information serving to obscure the truth of a situation!

  17. 2A all the way! They are nothing but cowards!

  18. Well, _that’s _ what we need–yet another “common-sense” gun “safety” group, this one playing the vet card. Oy vey!

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