Thursday, January 17, 2013

Interesting Connections

Americans for Responsible Solutions is the new PAC formed by Gabby Giffords and Mark Kelly. It will seek to promote candidates that pursue "solutions to prevent gun violence and protect responsible gun ownership."

Their registration with the Federal Elections Commission has now been processed and is available on-line.  They list their official address as an office complex adjacent to Rock Creek Park in Washington, DC.

Their custodian of records is Vickie Winpisinger. Ms. Winpisinger serves or has served as treasurer for a number of other PACs and political campaigns with connections to Democrats. They include the House Majority Fund and Gabby PAC. She also was the campaign treasurer for Democrats including Nydia Velazquez, Eric Massa, Mike Ross, John Lewis, and Giffords. Winpisinger's late father William was the long-time president of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers and big in left-wing circles.

The treasurer of the PAC is Texas personal injury lawyer J. Steven Mostyn. He is currently serving as the president of the Texas Trial Lawyers Association. According to the website Texas Trial Lawyer Watch, Mostyn gave over $10 million in campaign contributions in the 2010 election cycle plus another $400,000 to the Democratic Governors Association. There is even a website called The Truth About Steve Mostyn. According to the Dallas Morning News and Bloomberg, Mostyn has donated $1 million to Americans for Responsible Solutions.

According to a story in Time, Mostyn is good friends with Gifford's husband Mark Kelly as well as Democratic consultant Paul Begalia.

Until then (Newtown), the couple had decided to avoid the activist path, treating the 2011 Phoenix shooting largely as a personal trauma that needed to be dealt with in private. “It’s not what we wanted to do,” he said. But now they went all-in, drawing up plans for two new organizations: a nonprofit to build grassroots support for changes to gun laws and a super PAC to run ads supporting members of Congress on the issue. Kelly decided to start working full time on the effort and began calling those he thought could help.

One of his first calls was to Steve Mostyn, a wealthy trial-lawyer friend from Houston who happens to be one of the biggest contributors to Democratic super PACs. Like Kelly and Giffords, Mostyn is a gun owner. He sleeps with a handgun by his bed, in a safe that opens by his fingerprint. He has a gun range on his West Texas ranch and invites friends out to shoot. But when Kelly called, Mostyn had just dropped off his 5-year-old daughter at school. “I told him it was time,” Mostyn says.

The subject of gun laws was on his mind even before Sandy Hook. A few months earlier, he bought a couple of pistols, both with high-capacity magazines, and 3,000 rounds of ammunition for his gun collection at a local gun store. “The kid who walks me out to the car says to me, ‘It looks like you are going to start a war,’” Mostyn says, noting his shock at how easy it was to stock up on enormous amounts of lethal firepower.

“I’m not anti-gun. I’m just not pro-dumbass,” he continues, citing the more than 30,000 Americans who die every year from guns, mostly from suicide. “We’ve got a gun problem. That’s what differentiates us from other cultures.” He told Kelly he would seed the new group, which they called Americans for Responsible Solutions, with $1 million and begin fundraising with a goal of more than $14 million to support members of Congress in the 2014 elections who cast tough gun votes. “If a representative wants to vote their conscience, we are not going to allow you to bully,” he said of the NRA. “We will counter.”
 $14 million to support representatives who "want to vote their conscience" sounds like an effort to buy votes for the gun prohibitionists.  Like I said when last week, we need to keep a close eye on this group just like we do on Bloomberg.