Aug 20, 2013 8:33 PM by Andy Koen

News 5 Truth Check: attack ad ties Morse to New York mayor

COLORADO SPRINGS - The attack ad against John Morse paid for by the group National Association for Gun Rights begins with a black and white photo of the Democratic State Senator over a blue background.

A male narrator asks, "Who's pulling John Morse's strings?" Then, Morse's photo grows larger as the narrator continues by saying, "not the people of Colorado Springs."

The eerie music and growing photo create a negative image of Morse while the narrator's words and redundant on-screen text suggest he's being controlled by a sinister outside force.

The ad continues by making Morse's photo even larger and superimposing it over a photo of the State Capitol.

The narrator says, "In the State Senate, John Morse is taking his marching orders from the East Coast politicians like billionaire New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg."

That claim is open to interpretation. It's true that Bloomberg's group Mayors Against Illegal Guns hired lobbyists to support Colorado's new gun control bills.

News 5 reviewed lobbying disclosure reports filed with the Secretary of State's office and found that Bloomberg's group Mayors Against Illegal Guns paid at least $20,000 to support the passage of House Bills 1224, 1228, and 1229.

Tyler Chafee received the most money, $10,000, and worked solely on gathering support House Bills 1224 and 1229. Ted Trimpa was paid $5,000 to lobby in support of HB 1228, and William Coyne and Adam Eichberg together were paid $5,000 through their firm Headwaters Strategies to lobby support for HB 1224 and HB 1229.

However, the paper trail doesn't lead directly to Sen. Morse. To say that Morse is "taking his marching orders" is subjective.

The commercial continues with a black and white photo of Bloomberg next to map of the New England states. An animated image of a handgun, a salt shaker and a Big Gulp cup hover near a dot on the map labeled New York City.

The narrator says, "Bloomberg, who tried to ban guns, salt and Big Gulps in New York is bringing his radical agenda to Colorado Springs."

At the words, "is brining his radical agenda," the Bloomberg photo moves across the map to a dot labeled Colorado Springs.

There's is a lot going on in that one sentence. First, it was the New York State Legislature that passed new gun control laws, not New York City. While Bloomberg supported the effort, to say he tried to "ban" guns is misleading.

It's true the mayor started an initiative asking businesses to voluntarily limit sodium served in foods. However, he never put in place an outright ban. The only true ban that Bloomberg pushed was the well known restriction on the sale of sodas over 16 ounces. That policy was overturned in court.

To say he's bringing a radical agenda to Colorado Springs is also misleading. The Colorado Springs City Council has never considered banning guns, salt or Big Gulps.

The ad continues with Morse's photo as the narrator compels viewers to, "Call John Morse and tell him to say no to East Coast politics. Tell him to stand up for Colorado Springs residents, not New York City's mayor."

The National Association for Gun Rights is a 501(c) 4 non-profit organization. These types of political groups are sometimes call "dark money groups" because they don't have to disclose their donors. However, the law also prevents them from out-right endorsing a candidate or issue.

The ads wraps up with the disclaimer, "Paid for by the National Association of Gun Rights."

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