Politics

Pro-gun control YouTube ad funded by group with close ties to Obama

Photo of Patrick Howley
Patrick Howley
Political Reporter

A new video depicting California teenagers voicing their support for increased gun control measures – currently playing as an advertisement on YouTube videos – was funded and produced by an organization with close ties to the Obama White House and liberal billionaire George Soros. The organization has long advocated for President Obama’s domestic policies and retains a lobbying and consulting firm involved in the passage of Obamacare to serve as its “presence in Washington.”

The California Endowment, a private foundation that was created by a deal between Blue Cross of California and the state of California in 1996 when Blue Cross of California became a for-profit corporation, launched the video “California Teens Demand a Plan to End Violence” as part of its pro-Obamacare campaign, “Health Happens Here.”

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The Obama administration is currently working on strict new gun control legislation in the aftermath of the Newton, Connecticut elementary school shooting.

The California Endowment’s video depicts facial close-ups of predominately Latino and African-American teenagers from the Los Angeles neighborhood of Boyle Heights invoking the Newtown school shooting tragedy and urging people to “demand a plan,” similar to a December video in which Hollywood celebrities, including Conan O’Brien, did the same for a Michael Bloomberg-backed organization.

“Every day fourteen kids are murdered,” according to the teenagers in the video.

“Catorce,” said a Latino teenager depicted in the video.

The California Endowment, which gives out approximately 5 percent of its worth annually, is exempt from federal income taxes under Internal Revenue Code 501(c)(3) . “Federal tax law prohibits The California Endowment, a private foundation, from conducting or supporting, with limited exceptions, any lobbying activity,” according to the group’s website.

“We don’t take a position on legislation,” California Endowment executive staffer Daniel Zingale told the Daily Caller. Zingale also claimed that the Endowment works with people on both sides of the political aisle.

Nevertheless, the Endowment has partnered with First Lady Michelle Obama on multiple health initiatives and has funded strong advocacy measures on behalf of Obamacare, the creation of which the Endowment was involved in through its work with a powerful Washington lobbying group.

First Lady Michelle Obama held an announcement ceremony at the White House in 2011 to launch the California FreshWorks Fund, a “$200 million public-private partnership loan fund” described as a “project of The California Endowment and an all-star team of partners,” including JP Morgan Chase, Morgan Stanley, and Bank of America. The loan fund aims to make underserved communities “healthier by working directly with grocers on developing new and improved places to buy nutritious food.”

Michelle Obama and California Endowment president and CEO Dr. Robert K. Ross launched another project, the Building Healthy Communities Initiative, together at an event in San Diego in April 2010.

“The California Endowment has dedicated almost all of its grant-making over the next 10 years, starting with $100 million this year, to the Building Healthy Communities Initiative,” according to a California Endowment press release.

“The Building Healthy Communities initiative is based on a simple idea – that healthy children come from healthy environments…The Building Healthy Communities initiative is all about giving people the tools they need to make healthy choices for themselves and their families,” Mrs. Obama said at the event.

California Endowment Board Chair Tessie Guillermo said, “First Lady Michelle Obama’s leadership on the critical health issue of childhood obesity is making a difference in the lives of children here in California and in the future cost of health care in this state.”

“The California Endowment supports policy and advocacy organizations to initiate and implement efforts to inform key policymakers” on child obesity, according to a January 2012 Endowment press release praising Michelle Obama’s work with Wal-Mart on a healthy food initiative.