New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is at it again with a new attack ad against Sen. Kelly Ayotte backed by a hefty media buy. “She voted to kill comprehensive background checks, making us less safe,” Police Chief Scott Knight, says in the ad, adding her votes in the Senate made “it easier for the dangerously mentally ill to get guns.”
These statements are untrue, according to PolitiFact. On the matter of background checks, PolitiFact points out that Ayotte simply voted for a different amendment, one that had a more realistic cap on appropriation of funds:
In their second pitch to PolitiFact, Mayors Against Illegal Guns argued that the incentive provided in the Grassley-Cruz bill was not as advertised. The incentive was an authorization for grant money to help states submit records to the NICS. That can be an expensive undertaking because some records are not digital or aren’t housed in a centralized office.
Ted Alcorn, senior policy analyst with Mayors Against Illegal Guns, said the program has always been authorized at more than $100 million per year. President Barack Obama, among his executive actions following the Newtown, Conn., school shooting, asked for $50 million. Manchin-Toomey authorized $100 million.
But Grassley-Cruz set a new cap of $20 million.
“That is the exact opposite of what is needed,” Alcorn said. “This bill essentially reduces the opportunity for states to get that funding. It doesn’t improve it.”
But there’s a finer point here. Authorization and appropriation are often very different things in Washington. (Authorization means funding is permitted under the law; appropriation means the program actually gets the money.) Alcorn acknowledged that the grants have never been appropriated at more than $17 million per year. Some years it’s been as low as $10 million.
And on the question of whether or not the amendment Ayotte voted for would allow the “dangerously mentally ill” to buy guns, once again, PolitiFact was unconvinced:
Podsiadly also noted that the Grassley-Cruz bill provided resources to states to deal with mentally ill people in jails and assist veterans with mental health and substance abuse problems — provisions that were not in either the Manchin-Toomey amendment or the underlying bill sponsored by Nevada Sen. Harry Reid.
“Grassley-Cruz was labeled as do-nothing, but if you actually read what our bill would do, I’m confident that it would have made a greater dent in gun violence,” he said.
PolitiFact’s conclusion? “We are still convinced that each bill would have addressed the background check system in different ways.” That is a far cry from Bloomberg’s hysterical smears on Ayotte.
For her part, Ayotte appears to have had just about enough of Bloomberg’s unwelcome antics. This week she sent out a fundraising appeal to Granite Staters saying, “’Live Free or Die’ is our Granite State motto. Clearly Michael Bloomberg isn’t familiar with that concept.”
Ayotte’s pushback against Bloomberg follows her Senate colleague Mark Pryor’s television spot calling out Bloomberg: