As part of its series on the “Hidden Life of Guns,” the Washington Post profiles James Pasco, the Washington lobbyist for the nation’s largest police officers union, the Fraternal Order of Police. Pasco, the national executive director for the union, worked against the nation’s big-city mayors and police chiefs in 2007 when those groups launched a major campaign to reverse a decision by Congress that kept federal federal records about guns used in crimes from being made public.
The FOP’s backing was crucial in deflecting the chiefs’ criticism that the secrecy undermined crime fighting. “It was very effective,” said Arkadi Gerney, an assistant to New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has crusaded for tougher gun laws. Before joining the FOP in 1995, he was the chief legislative representative for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the agency that regulates the gun industry and enforces federal gun laws. People who know him describe him as a charming operator whose motives can be opaque. “Jim knows everybody in Washington,” said James Cavanaugh, a former high-ranking ATF official. “And he moves like a shadow through the halls of power, as if it’s a little town. If you want something done in Washington, there’s only one guy to call, and that’s Jim.” The FOP primarily focuses on traditional labor issues, such as collective bargaining or Social Security and pension benefits. But it frequently has weighed in on gun-related issues during Pasco’s tenure.