Donating to NYS Senate Candidates: Teachers Union v. Bloomberg!

Dear Commons Community,

The Daily News had a short piece yesterday on Mayor Bloomberg  “trashing” the state teachers’ union for what he deemed its irrational backing of the state Senate Democrats.  Bloomberg was responding to a Daily News report detailing how the New York State United Teachers was planning to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to help the cash-strapped Democrats re-claim the Senate majority.

“I don’t know what rational person would want to go back to those days,” he said of the chaotic two-year period, 2009-10, when the Dems ran the chamber.

“And before we go back there, they should get their house in order and figure out how to convince people that they would act as adults if they did,” Hizzoner added.

Bloomberg said NYSUT gave money because it believes the Dems will be sympathetic to union issues.

“Why would they give the money if they didn’t think that it  would have the legislators that they are supporting vote their way?” he asked.

“That’s the reason I gave the money,” he said of a recent $1 million donation to the state Senate GOP and another of $75,000 to the IDC, a dissident group of four Democrats.

“I want somebody that’s good government,” he said. “I want somebody to stand up and say we have to have evaluations and the best teachers in front of the kids and run the school system for

As the News first reported, the union is skirting traditional donation limits by going the independent expenditure route, which allows an entity to spend as much as it wants to support a candidate as long as it’s not done in coordination with the candidate’s campaign.

Senate Democratic spokesman Michael Murphy accused Bloomberg of backing a Republican conference that has turned its back on many of the mayor’s core issues.

“On the issues Mayor Bloomberg claims to care about, the record is clear — from sensible gun laws to women’s rights to government reform, the Mayor agrees with Senate Democrats and the Republicans are obstacles to progress,” Murphy said.

“The Bloomberg agenda will go nowhere if Republicans retain control and will advance if the Democrats recapture the Senate.

I am not sure I follow all of Mayor Bloomberg’s argument.  I agree that it is not the best system where money influences elections but I don’t understand why it is okay for him to donate millions of dollars to candidates who are sympathetic to his views but it is not okay for the UFT to do the same.






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