As a growing number of mayors in Ohio and around the country resign from Mayors Against Illegal Guns (MAIG), New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's gun control group, new evidence suggests some of their names have been added to the member list and used to promote Bloomberg's political agenda without their knowledge or permission.
"Mayor Robert Shiner" (Mentor, OH) was listed in a letter from MAIG to Congress in June 2009 opposing reforms to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE), as well as in a full page advertisement opposing nationwide reciprocity of concealed handgun licenses.
However, Council President Shiner hasn't been Mayor since November 2008. His office says he never agreed to be a MAIG member. Despite requesting to be removed from MAIG's membership list in July, Shiner was still listed by MAIG as the Mayor of Mentor, and as a member of MAIG, until just a few days ago.
Mayor Keith Hoffman (East Berlin) said his participation, which began about a month ago, resulted from a misunderstanding of the group's objectives, and he is currently trying to get his name off the list. "It was a mistake really," he said. "They swindle you in and then put your name on the list."
Mayor Dale Strasser (Brunswick, OH) found his name used in MAIG advertising when it was actually the Brunswick city manager, Robert Zienkowski, who signed up for the group.
According to the NRA, at least 28 other mayors have appeared on the MAIG membership list despite the fact they were not mayors of the localities as advertised:
Over 60 mayors have now removed their names, though the MAIG website still lists forty-six Ohio mayors as members. While some, such as Mayors Donald Plusquellic (Akron), Mark Mallory (Cincinnati), Frank Jackson (Cleveland), and Mike Coleman (Columbus) support gun control measures, many others may have been misled by the Bloomberg organization or may have been added to the member list against their will or without their knowledge.
"Any organization can make occasional errors," said BFA Vice Charman Chad D. Baus, who has lead the investigation of MAIG's membership policies. "But when this many people quit an organization or say they never joined in the first place, it raises serious questions."
Baus went on to say, "Buckeye Firearms Association has a list of supporters, donors, and newsletter subscribers that numbers in the thousands. And we have no trouble at all accurately maintaining that list. Why can't Mayor Bloomberg's group, with millions in funding, maintain a list with only a few hundred names?
"My guess is that there just aren't that many mayors who support the group. So maybe they have to fudge the member list to carry out Bloomberg's political agenda."