The big news about former Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer this week was his purchase of the Clippers for $2 billion, but it appears he's dipped into the coffers recently for political activism, too. According to newly released financial disclosures, Ballmer and his wife, Connie, have poured $580,000 into gun control efforts in Washington state.
The initiative has raised about $3.4 million
Following the Sandy Hook shootings, gun control advocates proposed a ballot initiative to close loopholes that allow for background check-free purchases of firearms, if the purchases are made online or at gun shows. Because of Ballmer — and other ex-Microsoft bigshots including Bill Gates and Jon Shirley, who have made smaller donations — the initiative is now significantly outpacing a competing gun-rights campaign, at about $3.4 million to $1.1 million. Tech industry luminaries based outside of Washington have also chipped in; Pandora CEO Brian McAndrews, for example, contributed $10,000.
In an interview with Bloomberg, Alan Gottlieb, chairman of the competing Protect Our Gun Rights campaign, sounded resigned to losing a funding battle. "We’re going to be outspent," he said. "We recognize that." The initiative comes up for a vote this November.