Billionaire New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is pouring his massive wealth into an anti-gun rights super PAC to defeat 2014 pro-Second Amendment candidates supported by the National Rifle Association (NRA).
Bloomberg’s super PAC Independence USA, which is solely funded by Bloomberg, is already claiming credit for helping former Illinois Rep. Robin Kelly (D-IL) win the Democratic primary for the seat vacated by disgraced former Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. The Bloomberg super PAC pumped $2.2 million into the race.
NRA spokesperson Andrew Arulanandam says that while pro-gun rights advocates will have to fight hard against Bloomberg’s money machine, the credit for Kelly’s victory was attributable to factors beyond Bloomberg’s backing and that the NRA did not get involved in the Illinois contest.
“We fully expect Mayor Bloomberg to try to spend a considerable amount of his fortune in the upcoming months, as he has already in the past few weeks,” said Arulanandam. “But the simple fact remains: Illinois-2 was never a pro-gun district, so to try and suggest this is a major victory of any kind is disingenuous.”
Other anti-gun rights groups say they are looking to coordinate with the Bloomberg super PAC to defeat pro-Second Amendment candidates. Becky Bond, president of the Democratic grassroots group CREDO, says she is eager to join forces with billionaire Bloomberg.
“Any member of Congress who stands with the NRA, and not with their constituents, post-Newtown is going to face a very different situation than they’ve ever faced before when they come up for election again,” says Bond.
Michael Bloomberg captured headlines last month when members of the mayor’s security detail accosted New York Times best-selling author Jason Mattera after the journalist asked him, “In the spirit of gun control, will you disarm your entire security team?” Bloomberg replied “Uh, you, we’ll get right back to you.” Mattera then followed up, “Why can you defend yourself but not the majority of Americans?” Bloomberg did not answer.
With an estimated net worth of $25 billion, Forbes ranks Michael Bloomberg as the 15th richest man on earth.