We've Gotta Hand it to Barrett
This week The Village Voice laments the future of the City's supposedly progressive campaign finance system, citing the Speaker's race as the straw that will break the CFB's back.
Wayne Barrett single-handedly rips Speaker candidate Bill de Blasio a new one, deriding him as "a poster boy for conflict of interest" for pushing through the Council a bill that "essentially exempts unions from the same affiliation standards that the Campaign Finance Board (CFB) has long applied to all institutional donors, including corporations and partnerships."
Barrett goes on to wade through the maze of tentacles that is Operation Bill for Speaker. The maze spans some of the city's largest and most politically-connected unions - SEIU Local 1199, HERE and 32BJ - as well as de Blasio's family and staff.
De Blasio and his wife were on SEIU's payroll when he first ran for Council; Peter Colavito, de Blasio's former Chief of Staff, now reigns supreme as 32BJ's Political Director; John Wilhelm, de Blasio's cousin, is the President of HERE; Wilhelm's son worked in de Blasio's first council campaign ... you get the drift?
And interestingly, de Blasio acknowledges that he "compared notes throughout the primary period" this year with union leaders "about the choices I had made" in councilmanic elections this year, indicating that he and his labor allies endorsed a similar group of candidates.
And here's a shocker ... apparently, when money talk$, legislators walk ... 1199, 32BJ and all other SEIU locals have combined to contribute $18,575 to de Blasio campaigns since 2001.