Reports surfaced earlier this week that the webpage of Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) appears to have been purchased and hosted by City of New York.
The group was co-founded by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg and Boston mayor Thomas Menino to “share best practices, develop innovative policies, and support legislation at the national, state, and local levels that will help law enforcement target illegal guns.”
In a phone call with THE WEEKLY STANDARD, Mayor Bloomberg’s press secretary Marc La Vorgna confirmed the City of New York’s involvement with the domain’s purchase and hosting.
When asked whether the purchase and subsequent hosting of the domain by New York City’s Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications was accidental or intentional, La Vorgna replied that the purchase had “definitely been vetted.”
La Vorgna continued, saying that Mayor Bloomberg’s push for changes to federal firearms law was part of the “federal agenda for New York City” and compared it to other efforts Bloomberg, as mayor, has undertaken—like the effort he and other mayors are involved in to limit the use of food stamps in purchasing sugary drinks.
The Mayors Against Illegal Guns website, according to La Vorgna, like other Bloomberg efforts to lobby the federal government, was done as part of “his capacity as mayor.”
Blogger John Ekdahl, who broke the story, notes that the registration of the domain renewoureconomy.org, another Bloomberg project, is tied to Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Unlike MAIG’s website, Renew Our Economy was registered by an individual named Adrian P, using the email address email@example.com — a domain affiliated with MAIG. The address of the group is listed as Geller & Company, a firm that serves “affluent individuals and families, their closely held businesses, as well as non-profits, charities and private foundations.”
Maggie Haberman and Steve Friess of Politico add, “At minimum, the use of a city web server and city employees underscore what critics have long derided as a blurring of the lines between government resources and Bloomberg’s own multi-billion-dollar fortune, his company, and his pet interests in his three terms as mayor."
It is unclear why Bloomberg, who has a net worth of $27 billion and has given millions of dollars in donations to Mayors Against Illegal Guns Action Fund, would involve the City of New York in purchasing and hosting the webpage for Mayors Against Illegal Guns.
UPDATE: Bloomberg spokesman Marc La Vorgna emails, saying Mayors Against Illegal Guns is not "a 501(c)(4) social welfare organization," as this article originally stated.
The group's "action fund" -- a separate entity -- is the 501(c)(4). But, as Haberman and Friess note in Politico, "The overlap between Bloomberg’s groups and the city are evident throughout the registration information for several of the websites associated with them."
While La Vorgna claims mayorsagainstillegalguns.org isn't affiliated with the 501(c)(4) "action fund" effort -- it is not immediately clear which webpage belongs to the 501(c)(4), since demandaction.org is listed as "A campaign of Mayors Against Illegal Guns."