Mayor linked to anti-gun bullying
BY AARON CAHALL
July 13, 2007
WASHINGTON - Mayor Michael Bloomberg's aides threatened to run negative ads against House Appropriations Committee chairman David Obey if pro-gun legislation opposed by the mayor was passed in that committee, Obey claimed yesterday. The mayor's office denied the charge.
Speaking during a committee session, Obey (D-Wis.) said Bloomberg aides told his staff that TV ads painting him as anti-law enforcement would be run in his district if the provision, known as the Tiahrt Amendment, restricting police use of federal gun checks, was passed.
"The Mayor's staff came into my office, and rather than discuss the merits, they simply did what so many bullies do ... they threatened to run ads in my district if I didn't bow to their wishes," Obey said according to a transcript provided by his staff.
Obey also took issue with the National Rifle Association, saying the organization didn't endorse him despite his votes against gun control legislation.
"I don't react very well to bullying, and I don't react very well to threats," he said. "I wish I could find a way to vote against both sides of this issue."
The Tiahrt amendment was included in the bill, which passed the committee by voice vote. Obey voted for the bill, his office said.
Bloomberg is co-chairman of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, a group of 225 mayors, and lobbied against the amendment Tuesday in Washington.
ProtectPolice.org, a media campaign of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, lists districts of nine representatives and two senators, both Republican and Democrat, in which an anti-amendment ad runs. The ads are paid for by supporters of the organization, Bloomberg's office said.
The mayor's Washington staff said Bloomberg aides had met with Obey's staff, but denied the congressman's charge. Bloomberg called the amendment's passage "a profound disappointment."