Politico: Dem Operatives Guide Newtown Families in Lobbying for Gun Control

A new Politico report illustrates how, in a short time, operatives of the Democrat Party have nurtured direct relationships with the families of victims of the Sandy Hook school shooting, resulting in the calculated exploitation of the tragic loss of loved ones to be used for political gain.

According to the report, the families, who are “well-educated,” and “well-off,” insist on meeting directly with senators during their lobbying efforts. “Not good enough,” the families say if they are offered staffers for a meeting. In addition, with access to media and money, they are using their heartbreaking stories--and their own lobbyists--to nudge senators in their direction.

That rule is just one of the ways that the Newtown families, political novices just a few months ago, are proving to be savvy, effective advocates as they promote the gun legislation that has finally begun to move through the Senate... The family members typically begin their pitch to senators softly, telling the story of the child that they lost. They gently say they could not have imagined themselves in this position, but they’re doing it to honor the memory of their children. They say they’re supporters of the Second Amendment, and just want to have a conversation.

“These are smart, articulate people, who don’t have a scintilla of Washington about them,” said Matt Bennett of the Democrat organization Third Way, which has been assisting the Newtown families in Washington D.C. “But they virtually cannot be denied a meeting. There are not many groups of people that can get a meeting with any senator they want, whenever they want.”

According to the report, the families conclude their meetings with lawmakers by leaving behind a color card with a photo of their slain child or relative.

One of the strategists for the Newtown families is Ricki Seidman, a top level Democrat tactical advisor who ran the Clinton-Gore presidential campaign’s war room in 1992. Seidman, who is now a senior principal with TSD Communications, was also Vice President Joe Biden’s communications director during the 2008 general election. Seidman also assisted the White House win confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor.

Seidman traveled to Newtown for the interview seven family members had with Scott Pelley on 60 Minutes last week, during which they made their case for tougher gun laws.

Third Way introduced the Newtown families to the lobbying firm Mehlman Vogel Castagnetti, which set up more than 25 meetings for them on Capitol Hill just in the past week.

According to Politico, the media campaign of the families is being managed by Lara Bergthold, who has worked on numerous Democrat campaigns.

The Politico report indicates that the Newtown families have now developed a highly professional campaign that uses the tragic shooting incident as a means to obtain their political end, which is gun control.

Many of the victims’ families made pilgrimages to Hartford that helped win passage of a tough new Connecticut gun law that Gov. Dannel Malloy (D) signed last week. That became a dry run for the Washington push. In a technique they might replicate in Washington, the parents lined up along the entrance of the Connecticut chamber, so the last thing politicians saw before voting was the anguish in their faces.

In addition, Politico reports that Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit group begun in Newtown by community members, is coordinating lobbying for 14 families. Some of the families are also working with New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns.

Passing gun control legislation has become a business in Newtown. Politico reports that Tim Makris, father of a fourth-grader who survived the horrific shooting, quit his product development job to become the executive director of Sandy Hook Promise.

“We spent many weeks studying these issues, so we’d really know what we’re talking about,” Makris said. “We know this is a marathon. It took our country a long time to get where we were on 12/14. And it’s going to take a long time to change.”


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