Michael Bloomberg’s Gun Control Site Causes Controversy

Mayor Michael Bloomberg Credit: Politico

Mayor Michael Bloomberg
Credit: Politico

Over 950 mayors form the coalition behind Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), an ‘anti-gun’ advocacy website spearheaded by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The group’s action fund-into which Bloomberg has poured some $14 million from his personal fortune-is registered as a 501c4 or non-profit ‘social welfare’ group, yet is hosted by servers at City Hall. Critics have long decried the blurry lines between government resources and Bloomberg’s own hefty bank account and booming business-and these revelations certainly underscore that ambiguity.

Ace of Spades blogger John Ekdahl first broke the story by examining the IP address associated with the MAIG homepage. He soon discovered that the MAIG domain name was registered in 2006, just as Bloomberg was entering his second term.

Many experts argued that MAIG should have been kept separate from government resources since its inception. “Lobbying groups, no matter how laudable the cause they advocate for, should maintain and host their own websites,” John Kaehny, head of an organization that advocates for technology and transparency in New York government called Reinvent Albany, said in a statement. “If a web page is part of a mayoral or city initiative, it should be clearly labeled with the NYC logo so the public understands it belongs to their city government. If something isn’t a city initiative, its website shouldn’t be maintained and hosted by the city.”

MAIG had already come under fire recently for fluffing its list of victims of gun violence- which included suicides and Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlan Tsarnaev. Now the Mayor’s office is scrambling to deflect the latest blows against its gun group, with Bloomberg spokesman Marc La Vogna among the many playing defense. “Whoever is mayor of any city gets to decide what the legislative priorities are of that city on the local, state or federal level,” LA Vogna said, claiming that no conflict of interest exists.

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