AP Photo/Cheryl Senter, File
Michael Bloomberg just spent $31 million for a week-long advertising blitz announcing his presidential run, which, as it turns out, is only slightly less than his 2018 donations to his pet gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety. The financial disclosure came as the anti-gun group’s 990 tax filings for 2018 were released, and CNBC reports that Bloomberg’s largesse was responsible for about a third of the group’s total fundraising dollars.
The organization, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund, brought in $69.5 million in total revenue last year, according to a new 990 tax return first reviewed by CNBC. That’s nearly double its revenue from 2017. The National Rifle Association, the biggest pro-gun lobby in the country, raised $352 million last year, meanwhile, representing only 12% revenue growth, its most recent disclosure form shows.The 501(c)(4), which focuses on political initiatives, received $66 million of that total in grants and contributions. A source said $38 million of that — listed as an anonymous donation in the document — came from Bloomberg himself. Combined with their other nonprofit, Everytown for Gun Safety Support Fund, the organization as a whole raised over $106 million.
The National Rifle Association may have “only” seen a 12 percent growth in revenue in 2018, but the group also didn’t raise a third of its donations from a single billionaire. Everytown for Gun Safety claims that, besides Bloomberg, the group had more than 300,000 individual donations from across the country, but didn’t list those smaller donations on their tax forms.
Bloomberg’s $38-million donation to his gun control group is just a tiny fraction of his estimated $54-billion fortune, and he still has plenty of cash on hand to spread around his presidential campaign, his anti-gun groups, and other candidates who support gun control (and may end up supporting his presidential bid as well).
The former New York City mayor isn’t just spending money on anti-gun causes. In fact, as Politico reports, according to his tax filings, in 2018 Bloomberg spent more than twice as much money trying to ban smoking as he did to ban guns.
Michael Bloomberg’s charitable foundation spent or allocated more than $100 million to combat smoking in 2018, as national attention has shifted to the dangers of vaping electronic cigarettes, according to a recent tax filing.
The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, which has funded an anti-vaping effort in New York City, received three grants totaling $25.9 million, the 2018 tax form shows.
Bloomberg’s other pet projects also benefitted from millions of dollars in funding from the billionaire.
In addition to funding programs that seek to monitor and eliminate tobacco use, he spent money across the globe on public education, infrastructure, cultural institutions and fighting climate change.
He spent more than $65 million on sustainable fishing and coral reef protection, upwards of $25 million on road safety in low-income countries around the world, $3.3 million on research of the rare and deadly ALS disease and $25,000 for an e-book program in Rwanda.
Some of Bloomberg’s favorite arts institutions benefited from his money as well. He gave $20 million to The Shed, a cultural building at the Hudson Yards development his mayoral administration spearheaded on the West Side of Manhattan, and $570,000 to the Metropolitan Opera to support “Met Live in HD.”
Obviously, Michael Bloomberg can spend his money on whatever causes he wants to support, and some of the projects even gun owners may find to be worthy endeavors. The tens of millions of dollars spent on sustainable fishing is a little different than the tens of millions spent to make owning a firearm unsustainable in the United States. Bloomberg may be supporting a number of issues beyond gun control, but it’s his focus on destroying the right to keep and bear arms that gun owners should be paying attention to as the 2020 legislative sessions and presidential primaries get underway.