by Dave Workman
Hours after the Million Mom March (MMM) organization said it was leaving rent-free office space it had occupied for two years at San Francisco General Hospital, the Second Amendment Foundation (SAF) called for an investigation into what it believes is a criminal misuse of public property for political purposes.
SAF founder Alan Gottlieb told Gun Week that his organization will ask California Attorney General William Lockyer to investigate the use of office space at the hospital for anti-gun political purposes. That use may go as far back as 1981, when the Trauma Foundation originally moved into office space provided by the hospital.
The Trauma Foundation was founded by Andrew McGuire, who was also executive director of the MMM until a recent shake-up that was reported in the April 1 issue of Gun Week. In that same report, it was revealed that MMMs national headquarters had been housed on the third floor of Building 1 at the hospital complex. San Francisco General is a publicly-owned facility.
More recently, Gun Week learned that the same office space was also used, in December 1993, for a gathering hosted by the anti-gun Physicians for a Violence-Free Society (PVFS). Gun Week obtained a copy of the agenda, and a roster of those who attended the Dec. 6, 1993 meeting. That session was co-chaired by Dr. Robert Norris and Dr. Ellen Taliaferro, founders of PVFS. McGuire was also on the agenda, with a report on Trauma Foundation activities.
Clearly, Gottlieb said, there is a pattern emerging that this particular office space has been utilized, possibly for two decades, as a headquarters for political activities designed to undercut the rights of law-abiding gunowners, not only in California, but across the country. That goes beyond simply being wrong. It may be a criminal misuse of public property for political purposes.
McGuire told the San Francisco Examiner that MMM political activities were conducted at another office. When contacted by Gun Week, McGuire declined to be interviewed.
Dr. Timothy Wheeler, who later became a founder of Doctors for Responsible Gun Ownership (DRGO)a project of the Claremont Institutewas at the 1993 meeting. He concurred with Gottliebs assessment that, at least in the case of the MMM, the rent-free office space amounted to a misuse of public money and it should be investigated.
It appears that professional anti-firearms rights activists in San Francisco have misused public facilities for years to advance their anti-firearm freedom activities, and this is clearly wrong, Wheeler said. I believe city or county officials should make every attempt, through legal remedies, to recover the public money squandered by these political groups.
Wheeler also said hospital administrators ought to face scrutiny in the process.
To the extent that the hospital administration was complicit in this misuse of public money, they should be held accountable, Wheeler insisted. San Francisco General is a traditional, publicly-funded hospital whose job it is to take care of sick people in San Francisco, not to push a political agenda against gunowners.
The use of hospital office space by the MMM, acting under cover of what can best be described as a sub-lease from the Trauma Foundation, was uncovered by two local gun rights activists, Jim March and Nadja Adolf.
Adolf was pleased to learn MMM was moving out of the rent-free space. She said the organization, which has fallen on hard financial times in recent months, laying off nearly its entire staff in March, should be required to pay back rent.
I think its a mistake, she explained. If an organization has illicitly used taxpayer money, there is absolutely no reason for them not to do it again, unless they are asked to pay for the resources they obtained.
She also suggested that the city should mount an investigation to uncover other such misuse of public funds and facilities.
Gloria Rodriguez, the hospitals public relations officer, initially downplayed the hospitals connection to MMM, responding to questions about the rent-free arrangement with couched remarks: Assuming you are correct about the Million Moms being here, and we dont know that
However, when Gun Week reminded Rodriguez that the MMM had listed the hospitals address on its website as the organizations national headquarters for almost a year, she promised to get specific answers to our questions.
Later, Rodriguez advised Gun Week that, while she acknowledged our questions, she would not be able to get answers by our deadline. She did note, however, that MMM apparently has moved to an office in Laguna Hills. A check of the MMM website still lists San Francisco General Hospital as the organizations national headquarters.
MMM was described to the Examiner as an off-shoot of the Trauma Foundation. In fact, MMM was founded in the last year of the Clinton Administration by a Clinton friend who had also worked at CBS News.
Initially, the Trauma Foundation helped launch a group called The Bell Campaign in 1999. In 2000, that organization was absorbed into the MMM Foundation, which became a clearly political group.
As Gun Week reported April 1, the Trauma Foundation got in trouble in 1995 for anti-gun political activities while receiving grant money from the Centers for Disease Control. At that time, US Rep. Bob Barr (R-GA) began inquiring about the Trauma Foundations activities, which resulted in some loss of funds, amounting to a very mild wrist slap from then-CDC Director David Satcher.
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