Millions raised to influence Nevada gun check vote outcome
Updated 12:27 pm, Wednesday, October 19, 2016
LAS VEGAS (AP) — Nevada legislative candidates and groups supporting statewide ballot measures were required to reveal their recent donations and expenditures by late Tuesday. Here are some takeaways from the campaign finance reports covering the last four months.
EXPENSIVE GUN BATTLE
A group that wants background checks on more Nevada gun sales and transfers raised a whopping $13.3 million in the last four months — almost all of it from billionaire former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and his group, Everytown for Gun Safety Action Fund.
Bloomberg put $3.5 million of his money to support Nevada's Question 1, which will appear on the statewide ballot in November. His group donated $9.5 million toward the cause.
On the other side, a Nevada affiliate of the National Rifle Association raised $4.5 million to fight the measure.
The battle over Question 1 is by far more expensive than those for the three other statewide ballot measures. Both sides have been active on TV and trying to rack up endorsements from current and former law enforcement officials.
Recent Nevada polls show voters favor passing Question 1.
ADELSON BACKS MARIJUANA FOES
Billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson is putting $2 million to try to prevent legalizing recreational marijuana in Nevada.
Financial disclosures show the Las Vegas Sands casino owner is the biggest donor to the Protect Nevada's Children PAC, which also received tens of thousands of dollars from MGM Resorts, the South Point casino and Boyd Gaming.
That group is against Question 2, a statewide ballot measure.
Adelson's wife founded clinics that treat drug addiction, and he is a major contributor to anti-marijuana efforts. He recently donated $1 million to oppose recreational marijuana in Massachusetts.
Two PACs supporting legalization raised $1.8 million in the past four months, which is close to opponents' $2.1 million total.
Pro-Question 2 donations to the two PACS, called the Coalition to Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol and Regulate Marijuana Like Alcohol, are mostly from the marijuana industry and a group called the Marijuana Policy Project, which supports legalization campaigns across the country.
UNIONS JOIN ENERGY FIGHT
An effort to break up NV Energy's monopoly and open the electricity market to more competitors raised $1.75 million over the past four months.
Data center company Switch contributed $1.5 million, while the Las Vegas Sands added $250,000. The Sands had previously been the biggest backer of the proposed constitutional amendment.
A new group called the No Handouts to Billionaires Committee raised $835,000 in the past four months to fight the measure, called Question 3. The biggest funder is the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers union, some of whose members work for NV Energy, and the Nevada State AFL-CIO.
Opponents say deregulation in some other states has led to higher electricity prices for consumers and more market volatility.
Massive casino companies including the Sands have sought to leave NV Energy and find their own providers, but have chafed at high exit fees imposed by regulators aimed at easing the impact of their departure on the wider customer base.