Dark Money in the New York Mayor Race


The New York City mayor’s race already has a patriotic tinge thanks to one man: entrepreneur Andrew Yang, whose long campaigning for democratic The candidacy for the presidency stalled early last year, but he is now seen as the front-runner in the city’s municipal elections. (This is despite his talent Stir up groans On Twitter.)

But it is not just personalities who are bridging the gap between local and national politics. It’s also money.

These mayoral elections are shaping up to be the first city election in which the super-PACs are formed – the dark money groups that arose after the U.S. Supreme Court decision in 2010 in Citizens United Against the Federal Election Commission – He plays a big role.

But it is also the first race in which a number of candidates benefit from city policy that allows campaigns access to more generous matching public funds, based on the level of popular support.

With the potentially crucial Democratic Party primaries nearing, just over two months old, our correspondents are on the Subway. Dana Rubinstein And the Geoffrey C. Mays They have written Article looking About how the search for PAC super money is complicating the race – and raising ethical questions about some campaigns, including some that also receive audiences. Matching funds. Dana took a moment on Friday afternoon to catch me where things stand.

Hi Dana. So, the United Citizens’ decision was released in 2010. Yet it seems like this is the first time that we hear about super-PACs being used in a big way in a New York mayor’s race. How does this development interact with the city’s newly strengthened matching money policy, which aims to encourage small donations? Is this a case of contradictory politics – or, as one source put it in your story, “like tinkering with part of your roof and finding water another way in”?

There was some Independent expenses (Or “IE”) in the 2013 municipal primaries, but he was not specific to the candidate – with one possible exception. There was a super PAC called New York City Is Not for Sale that was candidate specific in the sense that it was targeting one candidate, Christine Quinn, and got its funding from supporters of Bill de Blasio. But this is the first time we’ve seen Candidate IEs due to their nationwide reach, New York City candidates have taken their cues from the national scene.

If you talk to people at the Brennan Center who are a big advocate of the matching money program, they will point to it and say that voters should take heart, as it proves its success in many ways. The six mayoral candidates who qualified to match the funds this year were the most. Matching money is distributed according to how many New York City voters are contributing to the campaigns, meaning someone like Diane Morales, who has no previous election history and has never been a big player on the New York political scene before this election, is able to make a real case for mayor. . She is able to launch a real campaign. I got 2 million dollars in equivalent money on this round.

But then you have this parallel universe of PAC super money. And in some cases you have candidates getting similar money – which is our taxpayer dollars – And the Take advantage of Super PACs. Of course, PACs are supposed to be independent and not coordinate with campaigns, but regardless, some voters find this difficult to see and think it is an ideal scenario.

Basically, what we have are two parallel fundraising systems: one is almost ungovernable, the other is very strictly regulated and includes taxpayer money.

Who’s Leading the Race for Super PAC Money in New York? What is the general state of the race these days, so money matters?

Sean Donovan, the former housing secretary under President Barack Obama, is involved in the matchmaking program, and has a super PAC. Scott Stringer, the debit auditor, also has a super PAC – although it’s less profitable – and he’s also taking similar money. Andrew Yang has one super PAC formed by an old friend of his named David Rose; He has amassed a symbolic amount of money, but no one fancies that he will not start amassing much soon. And there’s another Yang-related super PAC that’s supposedly in action, involving Liz Smith, who has been involved in Pete Buttigieg’s presidential campaign.

Then there’s Ray McGuire, a former Citigroup CEO and one of the highest-ranking African American bank executives ever. He has a super PAC that has raised $ 4 million from all kinds of well-known names. They spend a lot, aiming to somewhat increase his recognition.

Regarding the condition of the race, we have no idea. As you can attest, there was almost no reliable poll here. In terms of the available polls, there is some similarity to what they suggest: Yang leads, but half of the voters are hesitant. You have Eric Adams, Scott Stringer, Maya Wiley, and then the rest of the group.

It’s too early to say and also it’s alarmingly close to the actual primary election day, June 22. We don’t really have a sense of where things are. When you add to this Voting by selection rankedAnd it’s new this year, it’s really an open question.

Earlier I mentioned Sean Donovan, whose story features prominently in the article that you and Geoff just wrote. Fill us with what’s going on there.

In addition to being Obama’s former housing secretary, he was the budget manager. So he’s a well-respected technocrat – he’s also the son of a rich advertising tech executive. Someone who formed a Super PAC to support his candidacy for the position of mayor; The super PAC company raised just over $ 2 million, and his father donated exactly $ 2 million of that amount.

Just in the realm of possibilities, his dad was like, “You know what, I really love my son, I think he’s going to be a great mayor, I’m going to fund PAC super-super,” without any coordination on how that money will be used. But it is difficult for some people to imagine a scenario in which father and son do not talk about this kind of thing. Or maybe not! The point is that it is almost unknown, right?

There are a lot of winks and nods involved in this stuff, and you don’t necessarily need direct coordination in order to get effective coordination.

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