Bloomberg’s promise to spend $50 million this year on gun control efforts is just the tip of the iceberg. As the NY Times reports it, this is 2.5 times the $20 million that the NRA has been spending a year on political activities.
But that $50 million is really just a portion of the money Bloomberg is spending on the gun issue and it doesn’t even count all the other money that is flowing into the issue. While the precise amount isn’t publicly available, Bloomberg is also spending tens of millions on “public health” gun research (here is a study that he paid for here). For example, last year Bloomberg announced a $250 million gift to Johns Hopkins that would fund 50 new professorships, some of which will be in the Bloomberg School of Public Health to study gun control. He also regularly funds things such as the gun violence summit at Johns Hopkins. The big concern is not the funding per se, but how incredibly biased and poorly done the research is.
Last year gun control groups out spend gun rights groups by about 7.4 to 1 on TV advertising. Even without Bloomberg’s $10 million, gun control groups still would have slightly out spent gun groups. (As a minor aside, Bloomberg has been allowed to advertise where the other side hasn’t.)
Of course, in still another sense Bloomberg’s spending is much greater than $50 million because of all the massive uncritical news coverage that he gets.
Finally, Democrats are incredibly upset about the $30 million that the Kochs have spent this year, though billionaire Tom Steyer pledges $100 million to back Democrats on Global Warming (half his own personal money) and his billionaire brother Jim Steyer now getting into politics for the first time and promising a very large amount on gun control.
Note that some are concerned that Bloomberg’s money will hurt Democrats in “red” states, but Bloomberg is also donating millions to Harry Reid’s Senate Majority PAC and that is being used to help these very same Democrats.
So far the polls (and here) haven’t shown gun control groups being that successful nationally, but this new push is quite different. Bloomberg’s money is just a portion of the money flowing into pushing gun control. Hundreds of millions that Bloomberg, Soros, many large foundations, and the Obama administration are pushing into funding gun control research.