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A top anti-gun official working for Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett has her job paid for with grants from liberal organizations. According to a paper trail of city records, pay records, and documents filed with the IRS by liberal foundations, money from powerful special interest groups has been given to the City of Milwaukee with the condition that the money be used to support the agenda and work of Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The official who does this work is required to monitor gun stores, conduct research for lobbying efforts, and lobby elected officials to change gun laws.
Mayor Barrett is Wisconsin’s leading member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns, an anti-gun advocacy and lobby organization established by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The national organization has helped coordinate media campaigns calling for the expansion of gun control at the federal, state and local level. Recently, the group became embroiled in controversy when it listed police killer Christopher Dorner and accused Boston Marathon bomber Tamerlane Tsarnaev as victims of gun violence in a national media campaign.
MAIG works with mayors across the country to promote its agenda in local media outlets and to local policymakers. Unlike other organizations that establish a national presence by employing their own staff, Bloomberg’s New York City-based group has turned to using government staff working out of government offices to promote their agenda.
In Milwaukee, Paulina DeHaan works out of the Zeidler Municipal Building as the regional coordinator for Mayors Against Illegal Guns. Employed as a staff member in Mayor Barrett’s administration, DeHaan is part of the city’s Office of Violence Prevent in the Department of Health. City human resources documents obtained by Media Trackers indicate that it is a full-time job.
According to an official city job description, DeHaan is tasked with spending the vast majority of her time promoting the agenda of MAIG, despite the fact that the group is headquartered in New York City. “The Regional Coordinator for the Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG) is responsible for planning and coordination of gun violence prevention and illegal gun-related initiatives and events throughout the City of Milwaukee,” a summary of her job reads.
Specific highlights of a more detailed job description include mandates to:
-Monitor local gun store activities
-Work with other cities in the MAIG coalition to develop and implement cooperative information-sharing efforts, enforcement strategies, and legislative initiatives.
-Serve as a resource to city intergovernmental staff and legislators on firearm policy.
-Recruit other mayors to join MAIC [sic] coalition
-Serve as the primary regional liaison for the MAIG coalition, assist in research, education, and advocacy activity to close gaps in federal law on gun background checks.
DeHaan is paid $2,307.69 biweekly – nearly $60,000 per year – for her efforts to keep a watchful eye on local gun stores and conduct recruiting and lobbying efforts for MAIG. Media Trackers obtained salary information about her job through an open records request that was fulfilled by the city’s Business Operations Manager for Health.
Just who is paying for DeHaan’s salary is a fascinating paper trail. The regional coordinator for MAIG is listed in the 2010, 2011, and 2012 City of Milwaukee budgets. Compensation for the position varies from $60,000 to $64,809. Each of the three budgets includes a footnote explaining that funding for the position is contingent on a grant from The Joyce Foundation.
The Joyce Foundation is based in Chicago and President Barack Obama once served on its board of directors. None of the foundation’s annual reports for 2010, 2011 or 2012 list a grant to the City of Milwaukee, but the reports for 2011 and 2012 list sizable contributions to United Against Illegal Guns, a New York group that uses the same law firm to prepare its IRS documents as Mayors Against Illegal Guns and the Bloomberg Foundation.
United Against Illegal Guns has, according to IRS records, given money to the City of Milwaukee for a regional coordinator for Mayors Against Illegal Guns. In 2011, IRS filings show United Against Illegal Guns gave the City of Milwaukee $64,124. The group also gave money to other cities in other states to pay for regional coordinators for MAIG. In 2010 United Against Illegal Guns managed to give Milwaukee only $8,607 for a regional MAIG coordinator, a total well below the amount allocated in the city budget for the position.
While the known flow of money, as determined by IRS filings and annual reports, from The Joyce Foundation to United Against Illegal Guns to the City of Milwaukee is not sufficient to cover all funds appropriated for an MAIG position in the Milwaukee budget, other funding appears to exist.
According to records from the City of Milwaukee Comptroller’s office obtained by Media Trackers in an open records request, the city had a grant agreement with The Joyce Foundation for at least 2010, 2011, and 2012 for full funding for the MAIG position. In those three years, Joyce Foundation agreed to provide or secure funds in the amount of $75,000 annually for the city.
The Joyce Foundation’s annual public reports do not reveal a direct connection between the foundation and the City of Milwaukee, and the foundation’s IRS 990 forms only denote money going from Joyce Foundation to United Against Illegal Guns.
By fronting their agenda through an official government office, MAIG is able to add weight to its work by covering up its far-leftwing agenda with the credibility of a government bureaucrat who would appear to be a dispassionate expert. While taxpayers are not directly paying for the salary of someone whose job it is to monitor gun stores, conduct research, spin reporting, and promote a pro-gun control agenda, the government they do fund is using its power to impose a rigid ideology that is marked with controversy.