Video shot by an undercover tracker at a California fundraiser earlier this year features Sen. Russ Feingold (D-WI) touting the fact that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton may use executive orders to restrict gun rights if she wins November’s presidential election. Feingold is running to recapture his old senate seat this fall after Wisconsin voters booted him from office in 2010.
“Well there might be executive order,” Feingold says in response to a question about what Clinton could do to limit gun access if she wins but Democrats fail to secure a majority in Congress. “[Barack Obama] did some executive orders with the aspects of waiting periods. But what we all need is to win the Senate, have her there, and then put pressure on the House,” Feingold explains.
The long-time politician claimed, however, that he would only cast votes that are consistent with what Wisconsin citizens might want with respect to gun control. “I go with the majority view of the people of the state,” he said.
But in 1993, as a rookie U.S. senator, Feingold voted in favor of the so-called “assault weapons ban” backed by President Bill Clinton, the husband of Hillary Clinton. The legislation banned the manufacture and sale of certain weapons simply because politicians deemed them to be “scary.” Popular rifles like the AR-15, which is often used for hunting, were by and large outlawed under the ban.
Feingold’s candid comments came at a fundraiser hosted by Amy Rao, a wealthy Democratic donor who is friends with Hillary Clinton. According to local California media reports, Rao hosted a fundraiser for Clinton in August. The website Open Secrets reports that Rao has given $2,700 to Feingold’s campaign this year, and since January has given a total of $275,735 to Democratic candidates and political party entities.
It is not clear how Rao and Feingold know each other. Feingold recently spent some time teaching in California at Stanford University. As a well-known West Coast philanthropist and entrepreneur, Rao is active in Democratic politics and philanthropy, with an interest in the Congo region of Africa. President Barack Obama named Feingold a special envoy to the Congo after he lost his 2010 senate race.
Rao tells the undercover tracker that if elected, Clinton “wants to shut it down” when it comes to gun ownership and gun sales. “If we can get guns away from everyone in this country, she’ll close the loopholes get rid of assault weapons,” Rao energetically explains.