Seattle City Councilwoman Lorena Gonzalez is suddenly critical of big money spending in political campaigns, according to a report at KOMO News, the local ABC affiliate, but where was she when the billionaire-backed Alliance for Gun Responsibility was bankrolling gun control initiatives?
KOMO and rival KING, the NBC affiliate, are both reporting that Gonzalez, who actually benefitted from big corporate contributions back in 2015, wants to put the brakes on.
“We have an epidemic of big money in our elections,” she declared.
Is that anything like the so-called “epidemic of gun violence” Seattle-based gun prohibitionists continually harp about in email blasts soliciting contributions?
Gonzalez uttered nary a peep about the spending on Initiative 1639 last year, a $4.4 million campaign to gather signatures and pass the measure, which is now being challenged in U.S. District Court in Tacoma by the Second Amendment Foundation and National Rifle Association.
There is also a fired up grassroots campaign to repeal I-1639 with another measure, Initiative 1094. Second Amendment activists from Cathlamet to Colville are circulating petitions to every gun shop and sporting goods store that will take them (a couple of stores have declined), and they’re trying to gather 5,000 signatures every day before the end of December to qualify. They need 300,000 signatures to present the initiative to the Legislature in January.
According to MyNorthwest.com, Gonzales was an advocate for Seattle’s gun storage mandate last year. That’s also being challenged in the courts, and there is new momentum for supporting that legal action after a Superior Court judge in neighboring Snohomish County last week ruled that a nearly identical regulation in the City of Edmonds violates Washington’s 35-year-old preemption statute. That ruling will also be appealed. A judge in Seattle earlier ruled against the NRA and SAF challenge of the Seattle ordinance, and they have already appealed.
When it comes to big money in politics, one can definitely find it in campaigns funded by the gun control crowd. According to a recent column at SeattleP-I.com, veteran scribe Joel Connelly, reported, “The Alliance for Gun Responsibility, at an annual luncheon in June, has cleared between $750,000 and $1 million.”
In 2014, the Alliance for Gun Responsibility spent more than $10 million to essentially buy passage of gun control Initiative 594 against about $2.5 million spent by Second Amendment groups to fight it. Much, if not most of the region’s gun control money comes from a handful of wealthy elitists, and from Michael Bloomberg’s Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund.
Gonzalez has an ally, Egan Orion, whom KOMO says “has benefited the most from all this corporate giving” to more than $400,000 from a PAC to which Amazon has contributed. Yet, according to the report, Orion told KOMO, “People are concerned about the outsized influence of PAC money on the race. I think the people want to see their vote count and not be influenced by outside groups.”
Last year, Everytown’s Action Fund—based in New York City—contributed $450,000 cash and $59,500 to the I-1639 campaign. On the other hand, Washingtonians and the National Rifle Association for Freedom spent $620,455.00 to fight I-1639, while Stop 1639/Shall Not Be Infringed spent $29,986.61 and another group by a similar name spent $32,495.90, according to Public Disclosure Commission records.
In 2014, Everytown’s Action Fund contributed $2.3 million to the Alliance’s I-594 effort, according to data posted by the PDC, and another $29,500 in-kind. In what appears to be a separate filing, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund for I-594 apparently spent $490,378.16 in cash and donated another $429,321.17 in-kind to the I-594 effort. That same year, the NRA spent $489,331.49, while Protect Our Gun Rights, based in Lakewood, raised and spent $1,343,349.34 on the counter measure, I-591.
Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an Everytown subsidiary, contributed $30,000 to the I-594 effort.