DENVER — More than two-thirds of big-money, super PAC contributions supporting Mike Johnston for Denver mayor has come at the hands of just five people, and four of those are from outside Colorado — and all with ties to gun control or other “social justice” issues.
Probably the most recognizable is New York billionaire and radical gun-control activist Michael Bloomberg, who has poured $510,000 into the Super PAC “Advancing Denver.” Bloomberg, a New York City Democrat has poured millions into Colorado politics over the past decade to advance his gun-control agenda.
He donated heavily to two Colorado senators’ fight against recall campaigns in 2015 over their support of Bloomberg-backed gun-control measures. Both senators ultimately lost their seats.
Bloomberg, the former Mayor of NYC, is well known for his investments into Mom’s Demand Action (MDA), a political action group that advocates for extreme gun control ranging anywhere from open carry bans to full weapons bans. MDA has endorsed Johnston for mayor.
Mom’s Demand Action has been touring Colorado towns and cities over the past year working to pass gun rights restrictions at the local level, and also took their anti-Second Amendment efforts to the Democrat-controlled state legislature this past session, which passed a slew of bills aimed at gun owners.
However, Rocky Mountain Gun Owners (RMGO), a Loveland-based organization immediately launched lawsuits against at least two of the newly passed laws, raising the age to purchase a long gun to 21 and a three-day waiting period on all purchases.
According to campaign finance filings with the Denver County Clerk and Recorder’s office, Advancing Denver — whose sole objective is to elect Johnston as the next mayor of Denver, has raised $4,154,683 to date, with $2,814,626 million coming from just five donors, all but one of which are from outside of Colorado.
The lone Colorado donor — Kent Thiry has spent the past decade spending more than $6 million to pass citizen initiatives such as Propositions 107 and 108, which allowed unaffiliated voters to vote in Republican and Democrat primaries without declaring a party; Amendments Y and Z, which changed the way districts are redrawn after a census; and Amendment B, which repealed the Gallagher Amendment, something many now blame for skyrocketing property taxes.
Thiry — a California transplant — has contributed $450,000 to the Super PAC in hopes of electing Johnston. He is the former CEO of DaVita, one of the largest dialysis companies in the nation.
Bloomberg is not alone among the gun-control activists working to get Johnston elected. John and Laura Arnold, Texas-based philanthropists, have kicked in $150,000. John, a former Enron executive and Laura a former oil and gas lawyer, led a group of other philanthropists in raising $50 million toward gun-violence research. The couple’s foundation is also actively involved in criminal justice reform. They were the nation’s sixth largest philanthropic donors in 2022, donating nearly $700 million to various social justice causes.
The top donors to Advancing Denver are:
- Reid Hoffman — $1.355 million
- Michael Bloomberg — $510,000
- Kent Thiry — $450,000
- Steve Mandel — $350,000
- John and Laura Arnold — $150,000
By comparison, Independent Expenditure Committees account for just $1.3 million in total expenditures for Johnston’s opponent Kelly Brough. All totaled, Johnston is outspending Brough nearly 2-to-1 ($5.899 million to $3.136 million).
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