Liars, Guns and Money

By Beacon Staff

Because I abuse my Second Amendment rights just as enthusiastically as I abuse my First Amendment rights, the post-Newtown “sensible gun control” kabuki dance in Washington, DC has my rapt attention.

Trouble is, when it comes to Congressional hearings or press events, “news” organizations almost never cover the really important stuff. Thank God for C-Span and Al-Jazeera Gore’s Internet.

A case in point was the Senate Judiciary hearing Jan. 30. Anyone who watched grievously wounded former Congressman Gabrielle Giffords’ brave testimony with dry eyes has no soul.

The lowest point of the hearing came when Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) asked Baltimore County Police Chief James Johnson for his expert opinion on why certain black-gun “features are dangerous” and should be banned. The chief’s answer was fascinating, in essence a confession that the evil features to be banned “enhance our capability in various tactical maneuvers.”

Well, duh, but Chief Johnson was referring to “our capability” in the sense that properly equipped black guns are perfect for cops, but not ordinary citizens.

Chief Johnson’s no-guns-for-peasants elitism motivated me to research the group he was representing – the National Law Enforcement Partnership to Prevent Gun Violence (NPV for short, thanks).

If you’ve never heard of NPV, that’s because NPV is baby-new, created in late 2010 as an in-house project of the anti-gun-rights Police Foundation (no surprise given Johnson’s testimony), which in turn has been getting supplemental funding for NPV from the Chicago-based, anti-gun Joyce Foundation.

Nor is it surprising that the Joyce Foundation itself has gotten help for its anti-gun efforts from Bloomberg Philanthropies – in 2011, $2 million. That’s Mayor Mike Bloomberg, the no-soda-pop, no-guns-nanny-mayor $25-billionaire who dumped $10 million into his personal Independence USA Super-PAC in 2012. Independence was reported by National Journal as a “one-man counterweight” to the National Rifle Association. Of the five Congressional races Bloomberg involved himself in, he “won” two.

Joyce Foundation “gun violence” records show that Joyce kicked $650,000 of Bloomberg’s funds directly back to a Bloomberg anti-gun “nonprofit” – basically a money-hiding move, perfectly legal but still slick. Never mind that Mayor Bloomberg enjoys “charitable” tax breaks for his contributions to Joyce’s purely political programs. But among those 2011 records was something I did not expect: $100,000 to New Venture Fund, to “support the development and launch of a new online organization.”

New Venture Fund (NVF), formerly Arabella Legacy Fund, was created by Eric Kessler, a relative of former Whitefish Sen. Dan Weinberg. Since 2006, NVF has grown from a mere $500,000 in startup cash (source undisclosed) to a $32-million-plus entity in 2011. Even better, Eric’s management firm was paid $1.345 million to run New Venture in 2009.

After considerable digging, I learned from Media Trackers Ohio the $100,000 was actually “three grants totaling $790,000 on April 26, 2011” from Joyce, for the Fund for a Safer Future (FSF) – an NVF “project,” meaning there will probably never be separate tax filings for FSF. In fact, NVF’s 2011 public Form 990 tax return isn’t yet available, so I can’t say if NVF will report FSF activity at all.

But as Joyce president Ellen Alberding wrote in the Chronicle of Philanthropy in December, just days after Newtown: “Joyce and several other grant makers joined forces to create the Fund for a Safer Future, and together they’ve awarded more than $14 million” to anti-gun groups trying to “capture and sustain the momentum” created by the Newtown tragedy for “reasonable gun laws.” Wow.

There’s been plenty of reporting about the $32 million NRA spent in 2012 on politics (some was mine), but nothing so far about the $14 million political campaign in opposition, underway for almost two years. Of all political dark money, millions of the blackest is being spent by “charities,” a veritable orgy of liars, guns and money – yet it isn’t news?

Guess not … in fact, FSF has been left to reveal itself. Just days ago, CNN International published an opinion piece from FSF: “If You Back Gun Reform, Write a Check.”

Write a check?

Maybe I will … perhaps you should too.