Monday, August 01, 2011

Daily News: Christine Quinn
Got $127G from Porky Nonprofits

Democratic lesbian politician Christine Quinn hopes to become mayor of New York City when Michael Bloomberg finally retires from the job, and at least one newspaper in the Big Apple, the Daily News, is carving itself a niche of holding her accountable on several public fiscal matters.

I blogged last week about an editorial in the Daily News condemning Quinn's role in corruption regarding grants to charities as head of the City Council.

Today's paper ran a story by Erin Einhorn - "Porky nonprofits gave mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn $127G" - looking at organizations that donated to Quinn and why voters should care about following the money. From the Daily News:

A Daily News review of campaign contributions to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn identified more than 200 contributions - totaling $126,789 - from the top employees of nonprofits slated to snag Council money from her this year.

With public matching funds, those contributions are worth $242,055 to the speaker's 2013 mayoral bid.

The ability to hand out pork "benefits every incumbent running for re-election or for higher office," said Hunter College political science Prof. Ken Sherrill. "People are indebted to them, people want to curry their favor and people want their goodwill." ...

It also includes $325,500 from a pot of City Council "member items" set aside for Quinn as a district council member and $2 million in speaker funds she gave out with other Council members.

That money helps pay for community programs and cover the salaries of employees at organizations such as an AIDS research group, a gay and lesbian community center, an environmental advocacy group and a junior tennis league. ...

There's no evidence Quinn actively solicited contributions from officials at pork-seeking nonprofits. Several contributors contacted by The News declined to comment or did not return calls. Political observers say it's no surprise that many of these officials - anxious to find cash for their cause - chose to open their checkbooks for Quinn. ...

Kudos to the Daily News for scrutinizing Quinn and her assorted money trails. We need more journalism like this and I've sent a note to the reporter of this piece to thank her for getting this story into print.

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