We got a big belly laugh today reading that Mike Bloomberg was castigating state senate Dems for their so-called, "pay to play" scheme. As the NY Post reports: "Mayor Bloomberg yesterday branded efforts by state Senate Democrats to extract $50,000 campaign contributions from union leaders "the ultimate pay to play," as outraged good-government groups urged a criminal probe of the blatant fund-raising demand. "Pay to play is just something we shouldn't have," declared Bloomberg."
Such chutzpah for the man who pays millions for everyone to play for his team. The fact that the Bloombucks flows in the opposite direction doesn't take away from the fact that it is, just like the money flowing in the other direction, a direct subornation of the political process. And at least all of us who contribute to the elected officials are transcribed in records for all to see.
As Adam Lisberg at the Daily News has written-and his reporting is simply the tip of the iceberg-Bloomberg's personal monetary dispenser, under the guise of charity, simply proves the old maxim that charity begins at home. He has doled out tens, if not hundreds of millions of dollars-"anonymously" of course-to scores of local groups who, in the right moment (as it was in the term limits debate), come out to support the city's richest man-denying vociferously when called out that there was any possible quid pro quo.
Pay to play, indeed! The man should have the decently to simply keep a low profile on this-and we haven't even talked about his logrolling tactics with his rich friends, getting them to pony up for the great educational cause of Learn New York, a cause that was immediately abandoned once Bloomberg got back control of the schools.
And then there's Bloomberg's use of, "patricianage." In case after case we saw how deputy mayor Doctoroff made end runs of the city's bidding process to award his friend Steve Ross at Related lucrative development opportunities. Bloomberg was so upset by this favoritism that he asked Deputy Dan to leave government service-exiled to God knows where.
And as far as all of the so-called good government groups are concerned, they need to pay a bit more attention to the imperial mayoralty; but too many are stone silent, gathering lint in the mayor's suit pocket-if they aren't directly receiving Bloomberg largess.
If we are going to limit the role of money in politics-and we don't believe that this is necessary a good idea-than we must shut the door on the Bloombergs of the world who seek public office as a kind of vanity plate, and proceed to despoil democracy with an obscene use of their vast fortunes.