Liberal dark money network quietly launches gun group to create ‘narrative that guns make us less safe’
When the New York Times ran a story on guns, the gun owners started a “Never Again” campaign.
The campaign was so successful that the New York Times reported that it had a 65% success rate, while its website boasted that it reached over 300,000 people. But when New York Times reporters questioned the campaign’s funders, the movement’s funders were not so eager to talk.
In the following weeks, gun owners sent a barrage of funders and potential funders for the campaign to email or call. The funders mostly ignored the campaign, while a small handful of people who responded were asked to sign a pledge to give a few hundred dollars.
The campaign raised hundreds of thousands of dollars from small donors, but some of the money raised by the campaign was spent on things other than the “Never Again” campaign against gun violence.
“It was a weird experience for me — being involved in something like that, especially in the state of New York,” Andrew Pollack, the founder of the group’s dark money network, told VICE News.
The network had no official name, and was merely a group of friends who all share ties to New York, he said. When Pollack started, one of the members of the network was interested in starting his own gun group. But Pollack said he could not find anyone who was interested in taking his idea and building a network around it.
“People felt like, if we’re doing this, it might be the only way through,” Pollack said.
As it turned out, the group had an official name: the NRA-backed New York Coalition to Stop Gun Violence. And the group’s fundraising page was funded in part by the NRA.
The NRA declined an interview request. The NRA spokesman, Andrew Arulanandam, issued a statement saying the gun group’s website was “a sham” and was “a political web-based operation that does nothing to promote gun safety in