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Politics Northwest

The Seattle Times political team explores national, state and local politics.

September 9, 2014 at 5:36 PM

The Ballmers give another quarter million to support I-594

Steve Ballmer’s been in the news quite a bit lately: keeping busy with basketball teams (and more basketball teams)  and stepping down from the Microsoft board.

And the former Microsoft CEO and his wife are continuing to add to the big-dollar campaign in support of Initiative 594, which would expand background checks on firearms purchasers. Ballmer and wife Connie each donated $125,000 – for a total of $250,000 – to the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility’s independent expenditure group in support of the campaign. The records appeared today on the state’s campaign disclosure website, though the donations are dated Sept. 4.

I-594 would expand background checks past what is currently covered by federal law to include people buying guns online or at gun shows, as well as many personal transfers of guns. The Ballmers have now donated $830,000 to the campaign, which has also seen big donations by Nick Hanauer, Bill and Melinda Gates, Paul Allen and Michael Bloomberg’s gun safety advocacy group.

Opponents of I-594 have called the deep-pocket donors elitists who want to buy an election. Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, even challenged Gates to a debate.

Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility has now raised north of $7.3 million for the initiative, which voters across the state will approve or reject this fall.

Comments | More in 2014 elections, Gun initiative | Topics: i-594, steve ballmer

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