Tuesday, February 12, 2008


In today's NY Times there's more on the lobbyist protection lawsuit (actually the law stands to save us poor folks plenty of money every year). The Times piece, however, doesn't really delve into the inequity of the exemption of organized labor, save for a brief mention: "The suit also contends that the law is constitutionally untenable because it targets some entities doing business with the city, while leaving others, like labor unions and neighborhood organizations, unaffected. “The city is claiming the potential of undue influence by people who are doing business with the city and then they exempt two of the biggest categories of people doing business with the city,” Mr. Bopp said."

Speaker Quinn, in glossing over this elephant in the room exceptionalism, points to the law's potential to help minority candidates: "City Council Speaker Christine C. Quinn, who pushed the bill past skeptical Council members worried about their ability to raise money, said the law was designed specifically to help candidates who did not have connections to the city’s high-powered lobbyists and developers." And I have a bridge to sell you.

Apparently, however, the potential recipients of the speaker's and the mayor's noblesse remain unappreciative: "But Councilwoman Maria del Carmen Arroyo, the Bronx Democrat who is co-chairwoman of the Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, said that the law raised legitimate concerns. “There is a very strong sense from colleagues on the impact of campaign finance rules on candidates of color,” said Ms. Arroyo, who is not involved in the case. “It’s a program that’s meant to level the playing field, and it doesn’t seem to do that very well.” The caucus includes 25 of the 51 Council members."

The whole issue is, as we've said nothing but a red herring; it creates false bogeymen and proceeds to go after these strawmen with unnecesary vigor. The labor exemption seems to us, in spite of our affection for so many in the labor movement, to be the key weakness in the law, and we hope that it is legally discredited because of it. All the other stuff is less compelling.

The bottom line here is that mayor moneybags wants to create rules for others-as he is suggesting for global climate policy- that he doesn't believe should apply to himself. We should adopt restrictive campaign reforms about the same time that Mayor Mike reduces his carbon footprint.