DENVER — New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wrote a personal check for $350,000 to Taxpayers for Responsible Democracy, the issues committee fighting the recalls targeting Senate President John Morse and Sen. Angela Giron.
FOX31 Denver is first to report the group’s contributions report, filed Tuesday with the Secretary of State.
Bloomberg’s contribution reportedly came just last week, according to multiple sources close to the campaign.
Billionaire Eli Broad also wrote a $250,000 check to the organization, which raised a total of $708,000 in contributions between April and Aug. 22.
With exactly two weeks remaining until the Sept. 10 recall elections that will determine the fate of Morse and Sen. Angela Giron, D-Pueblo, both of whom irked some constituents by supporting tougher gun control laws this year, the organization has $286,745 cash on hand.
Overall, more than 17,000 individuals contributed to the campaign to help the lawmakers survive these recalls, the first of state lawmakers in Colorado history.
“We want to thank every single one of those supporters, from Mayor Michael Bloomberg to the people who gave 5 or 10 dollars,” said Jennie Peek-Dunstone, with Pueblo United for Angela. “They all play a role in fighting back against the ‘wave of fear’ that the recall proponents want to send across the country.”
Additional contributors to the group include Conservation Colorado, which has chipped in $75,000 to date; and Miami philanthropist Barbara Stiefel, who wrote a check for $20,000.
The money trail doesn’t end there.
A Whole Lot of People for John Morse, the issues committee supporting Morse, reported raising $453,149 since April and has $104,382 cash on hand.
Pueblo United for Angela, the issues committee supporting Giron, raised an additional $586,187 since April, according to its own report also filed Tuesday.
That group has $44,673 cash on hand.
The groups behind the recall, which have mostly directed financial contributions to 501(c)4 groups that are not obligated to reveal their donors, have long criticized Morse and other Colorado Democrats for taking their cues from Bloomberg, whose group, Mayors Against Illegal Guns, lobbied them hard to support expanded gun background checks and a ban on magazines of 15 rounds or more.
“Coloradans have demonstrated in election after election that they cannot be bought by elitist out-of-state billionaires like New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg,” said Compass Colorado’s Kelly Maher in a statement.
“As a state that values our individualism, we don’t appreciate nanny state politicians who tried to ban Big Gulps, and attempted to regulate soda and trans fats trying to force their political agendas on us. No matter how much money Mayor Bloomberg gives to Senators Morse and Giron, it is Colorado voters who will have the final say on September 10th.”
The out-of-state spokeswoman for the group behind the recall, the Basic Freedom Defense Fund, also criticized Bloomberg as an out-of-state interloper.
“We represent the folks who live here, work here, and simply want their State back from the East Coast special interests like Mayor Bloomberg who influenced this past legislative session,” said BFDF’s spokeswoman, Jennifer Kerns, a California communications operative hired to assist the group during the recall.
As Tuesday’s financial report again underlines Bloomberg’s interest in Colorado, Democratic groups are reminding the public of the National Rifle Association’s long involvement in the state, along with that of other pro-Second Amendment groups — and thanking Bloomberg for helping amplify their voices.
“I have been advocating on behalf of smarter gun laws in Colorado for the past fourteen years and have seen the millions of outside dollars the NRA has poured into our state in the interest of stopping any attempts to pass reasonable gun laws,” said Tom Mauser, the father of Columbine victim, Daniel Mauser, in a statement to FOX31 Denver.
“Until now, it has been nearly impossible to compete with the resources of the gun lobby. But with organizations like Mayors Against Illegal Guns and Americans for Responsible Solutions, who understand the importance of this issue and are willing to get behind us with the resources, we’ve been able to make our voices heard.”
In reality, the fight over gun control in Colorado and the ensuing recall elections have always been a proxy war between well-funded groups on both sides of the national debate.
It’s possible that Bloomberg and the NRA may write more checks to help the campaigns cover expenses in the final two weeks before the elections.
The next financial filing is due in a week, but a final report isn’t due until Oct. 10, so it’s likely that voters won’t know the full amount of outside contributions until after they’ve cast their votes.