Eric T. Schneiderman, Esquire
New York State Attorney General
Office of the Attorney General
Albany, NY 12224-0341
Dear Mr. Schneiderman:
As explained below, it has recently been brought to light that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg may be commingling government resources with those of the nonprofit organizations he controls. Moreover, he may have used government funds to pursue his personal political agenda. We would urge your office to investigate this matter to determine if any laws have been violated, and if any action on your part is warranted.
On June 21, 2013, the blog “Ace of Spades” reported that the website for Mayor Bloomberg’s main organization “Mayors Against Illegal Guns” was “resolving at a New York City government IP address.”
By the evening of the same day, Politico ran a story that “the group’s website is registered to, and handled by, official city government servers and staffers.” Politico accused Mayor Bloomberg of “at minimum … blurring the lines between government resources” and his own. Id. Politico reports that, “in the past six months [Mayor Bloomberg’s group] has spent more than $14 million dollars” to promote anti-gun politicians across the country. Id.
The website www.mayorsagainstillegalguns.org lists the New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications as its registrant, giving the email address of Chris Long — Director, Web Operations & Strategy — as the administrative contact –The phone number contact is for Dan Srebnick, listed as the Department’s Associate Commissioner and Chief Information Security Officer. The website is even hosted by New York City government servers, as all domains end with “NYC.GOV.” The IP address for the website is registered to “The City of New York.”
Listed on the Board of Directors for the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Action Fund (as an organization exempt from federal income taxes under IRC § 501(c)(4)) is Arkadi Gerney, who was listed on the group’s IRS Form 990s while he was the Special Advisor to the Mayor and First Deputy Criminal Justice Coordinator at City of New York.
Listed on the Board of Directors for United Against Illegal Guns (as an organization exempt from federal income taxes under IRC § 501(c)(3)) is John Feinblatt, the Chief Advisor to the Mayor for Policy and Strategic Planning and Criminal Justice Coordinator, and Ed Skyler, who was listed on the group’s IRS Form 990s while he was Deputy Mayor for Operations for New York City.
In addition to the issues above, there are numerous other websites that are involved with Mayor Bloomberg’s anti-gun campaign:
Each of these websites is “cloaked,” meaning it is registered by proxy, and the true registrar and owner of the website cannot be determined.
Based on the facts outlined above, it appears possible that Mayor Bloomberg has been using public resources and city employees to further the agendas of his IRC §§ 501(c)(3) and (c)(4) organizations, to promote his nationwide anti-gun political agenda.
It is necessary that your office investigate these matters, to determine if there have been any such misappropriations, if any laws of the State of New York have been violated, and if any legal action or prosecution is warranted, particularly under the following statutes:
· N.Y. PBO. LAW § 73-b states that “No person shall knowingly use the funds of the state, a political subdivision thereof or public authority to pay for or produce, in whole or in part, any advertisement or promotion that is prohibited by paragraph (a) of this subdivision.”
· New York Penal Code § 195.00, entitled “Official Misconduct,” states that “[a] public servant is guilty of official misconduct when, with intent to obtain a benefit or deprive another person of a benefit … He commits an act relating to his office but constituting an unauthorized exercise of his official functions, knowing that such act is unauthorized … Official misconduct is a class A misdemeanor.”
There may be other statutes as well that deal with the misappropriation of government funds or misuse of government resources.
Additionally, it appears that Mayors Against Illegal Guns, although incorporated in Delaware, has not obtained the authority to do business in the state of New York. However, the organization appears to have engaged in business in the state. For example, the organization has held meetings there and the business address as well as the mailing address to send donations is in New York.
We would urge your office to investigate the matters above, due to the strong possibility that the residents of New York City have been involuntarily paying to further Mayor Bloomberg’s personal, radical political agenda.
Larry D. Pratt
Gun Owners of America, Inc.
Gun Owners of America
- http://www.politico.com/story/2013/06/bloomberg-gun-group-site- registered-to-nyc-93182.html
- MAIG Action Fund 2009 IRS Form 990.
- Subsection (a) states that “no elected government official or candidate for elected local, state or federal office shall knowingly appear in any advertisement or promotion, including public or community service announcements, published or broadcast through any print or electronic media (including television, radio and internet) by any private or commercial entity or any other entity that publishes such advertisement for a fee, if the advertisement or promotion is paid for or produced in whole or in part with funds of the state, a political subdivision thereof or a public authority.”