There seems to be no end in sight for the money train of donations fueling I-594, the proposal on November’s ballot to expand gun-purchase background checks to private sales and transfers.
Just on Monday, we wrote about the latest donation of $250,000 by Steve and Connie Ballmer to the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, the independent spending group advocating for I-594. The Ballmers, who have now donated a combined million dollars, are just one pair in a series of mega-wealthy Washingtonians who have been dispensing money in chunks to make sure I-594 survives attacks from gun-rights advocates.
Thursday, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s advocacy organization, Everytown for Gun Safety, anounced it is putting another $1 million into the I-594 campaign. This is the second million-dollar investment the organization is making; the first came in late August.
“We are grateful for Everytown’s contribution to the Yes on 594 campaign and their commitment to stand with the overwhelming majority of Washington voters who already support this common-sense safety measure,” said Zach Silk, campaign manager for the Washington Alliance for Gun Responsibility, in a press statement Thursday. “Everytown, along with thousands of donors from all walks of life, joins us in our hard work to reduce gun violence in Washington state — and with ballots dropping into mailboxes next week, we will use these resources to make the case to Washington voters that we can reduce crime and help save lives this November.”
Alan Gottlieb, an opponent of I-594 and chairman of the Bellevue-based Citizens Committee for the Right to Keep and Bear Arms, dismissed the donation.
“They must be running scared that people are actually reading all 18 pages on I-594 and turning against it,” Gottlieb wrote in an email.
Gottlieb is promoting his own measure on the ballot this fall, I-591, which would take away the state’s authority to enact background checks beyond the federal standards. But gun-rights supporters are not finding the financial muscle to match the I-594 campaign. As we wrote Monday, independent spending groups funded by the National Rifle Association and Gottlieb and his allies are not raising and spending nearly as much money.