Dianne Feinstein, Dishonest Fundraising, and Gun Control

Senator Dianne Feinstein and her allies such as Mayor Bloomberg and President Obama are using Adam Lanza's crime at Sandy Hook to promote renewed attacks on the entire Second Amendment.  Our side's goal must be not to defend our constitutional rights, but rather to counterattack decisively, as once commanded by Frederick the Great:

The King hereby forbids all cavalry officers, under penalty of being cashiered, ever to allow themselves to be attacked by the enemy in any action. Prussians must always attack the enemy.

Field Marshal Helmuth von Moltke elaborated in the following century: "The advantages of the offense are clear and permanent. He who acts on his own decision lays down the law to which the waiting party must conform his countermeasures. ... [I]t will generally be more advisable to proceed actively and keep the initiative than to await the law of the opponent."  We can put this guidance into immediate practice by calling out Ms. Feinstein and many of her associates for solicitation of money, volunteer time, and corporate contributions under dishonest pretenses, and also for lying to their fellow members of Congress and the public as a whole.

Feinstein and the Million Mom March Scandal

Dianne Feinstein was closely involved in the Million Mom March scandal of 2000, in which this project of Handgun Control Inc. was exposed for using 501(c)(3) tax-exempt money for electioneering.  As but one example, the group posted the following on its website:

You stand by your guns, Mr. Delay. Come Mothers' Day, we mothers will stand together on the mall of Capitol Hill to remind your PRO-GUN House that on Election Day, the voters will stand by our children.

It took the Million Mom March about three days to react to this exposure by admitting that it had lied to its donors and volunteers all along, and that it had always intended to electioneer.  The truth was, of course, that the group had been promoting candidates with tax-exempt money even before I exposed it by providing J.R. Labbe with the indicated information.  Even after this revelation, however, Senator Feinstein used her position as a senator to aid the group with low-cost airline fares for its activists.  Feinstein went even farther by repeating another falsehood with which the Million Mom March solicited money, volunteer time, and corporate contributions:

"We now have something happening in the US that has never happened before," Feinstein says grimly. "That is, children killing children with guns. Over 13 a day."

I looked at the Centers for Disease Control's statistics for 1999 and 2000, and I discovered that this statement is true only if one counts "children" who are old enough to vote and sign contracts. This was not a mistake. The Million Mom March even posted a web page that admitted as much; 4,233 per year comes to about 12 per day.

4,223 young people ages 0-19 were killed by gunfire - one every two hours, nearly 12 every day in the U.S. in 1997.

The Million Mom March, therefore, set out to deceive its own donors and volunteers by inflating its definition of "children" with the most violence-prone age cohort in our society.  This is not little Johnny finding his father's gun, thinking it is a toy, taking it to the playground, and shooting a playmate, as the Million Mom March wanted us to believe.  It's the Crips shooting the Bloods, and vice-versa, with firearms they are already forbidden to possess without adult supervision if they are under 18.  Those who are 18 or older are, of course, fully responsible as adults for their actions.

Here is what Pennsylvania has to say about fundraising practices by charitable organizations:

Regardless of a person's intent or the lack of injury, the following acts and practices are prohibited in the planning, conduct or execution of any solicitation or charitable sales promotion: ... (2) Utilizing any unfair or deceptive acts or practices or engaging in any fraudulent conduct which creates a likelihood of confusion or of misunderstanding

The Million Mom March crossed this ethical line at least twice.  It told its prospective donors that firearm misuse kills 12 (or 13) children a day, and it told the IRS on its Form 990 tax return for 2000 that it was "organizing a march in support of public health and safety."  This is also what it told many of its supporters.  The truth is that this march was a thinly disguised campaign rally for Al Gore, along with a photo opportunity for Hillary Clinton, Tipper Gore, Carl Levin (D-MI), Barbara Mikulski (D-MD), Nita Lowey (D-NY), Carolyn McCarthy (D-NY), and other political figures.  Ms. Clinton's involvement in this scandal needs to be a major issue if she runs for president in 2016.

Govtrack.us, meanwhile, adds a list of other members of Congress who signed their names to the falsehood "Whereas 12 children in the United States are killed every day by gun violence."  John Conyers, Jerrold Nadler, and Jan Schakowsky are prominent on the list of the individuals who lied to their constituents, their fellow members of Congress, and the American people as a whole to aid and abet the Million Mom March's questionable fundraising practices.

Why Do They Need to Lie?

Rational human beings support what is right and honest, so if the Million Mom March and its supporters were right about gun control, why did they need to lie?  Why did they need to solicit money under dishonest pretenses, and why did the Million Mom March have to file a highly questionable Form 990 tax return for 2000?  This tax return, a copy of which has been provided to the editor, says unequivocally (Part III, Statement about Activities, Line 1) that the organization made no effort whatsoever to influence legislation.  This was after it lobbied openly for mandatory licensing and registration of handgun owners.  It adds (Part VI A, Lobbying Expenses by Public Charities, lines 36-38) that it spent no money to influence legislation.

The National Rifle Association, the bête noire of Senator Feinstein and her associates, says very clearly that donations to the Institute for Legislative Action and the Political Victory Fund are not tax-deductible.  It is also up-front about the fact that the ILA's mission is to lobby, and the PFV's role is to influence elections.  The NRA tells the truth, and the Million Mom March and its supporters lied.  This is something the American people need to take very seriously.

William A. Levinson, P.E. is the author of several books on business management including content on organizational psychology, as well as manufacturing productivity and quality.

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