Bloomberg Proposes New Campaign Rules that Wouldn’t Apply to Him


bloomberg1New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg yesterday proposed new campaign finance rules that would apply to nearly every candidate – except himself. As a billionaire who bankrolls his own campaigns, Bloomberg doesn’t accept contributions and so wouldn’t be held to his newly proposed restrictions. “They have no credibility doing that,” said Eduardo Castell, the campaign manager for William Thompson, Bloomberg’s likely Democrat challenger in November.

“For Michael Bloomberg, who is going to be spending – it could be as much as $200 million – on this campaign, who does not participate in the campaign finance system, who we don’t know if he discloses all the money that he is spending, who plays by his own rules, for him to be talking about campaign finance reform in the middle of a campaign is like Michael Vick talking about animal cruelty.”

Bloomberg’s proposals include a ban on public matching dollars for funds raised by lobbyists or by people who do business with the city, as well as earlier disclosure of some contributions.

He also threw his support behind a proposed federal rule change that would bar investment advisers from doing business in a city or state within two years of making a campaign contribution there.

Thompson has also supported that rule change.

Bloomberg’s proposals did not come from his City Hall office, as an earlier wave of campaign finance reforms did several years ago.

They came instead from Bloomberg campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson, who introduced the proposals in the mayor’s midtown campaign office after slamming Thompson for taking money from pension fund managers while overseeing city pension funds.

“Mike Bloomberg doesn’t take a dime in special interest money,” Wolfson said. “No one will ever have to wonder whether contributions influence his decisions….He works only for the taxpayers.”

The proposals were “definitely political,” said Gene Russianoff of the New York Public Interest Research Group. “But that doesn’t mean it’s wrong….These are good proposals.

“[Bloomberg] would have more credibility if he’d support measures to help candidates facing high-spending, self-financed opponents like himself.”

Dick Dadey, a good government advocate with Citizens Union, also praised the proposals but lamented that they stopped short of limiting the influence of unions in government.

New rules implemented last year by Bloomberg and the City Council applied strict limits on contributions from lobbyists and people who do business with the city, but unions were largely exempted from those rules.

“He’s in the midst of an election with significant union support,” Dadey said, “and you don’t bite the hand that’s helping you.”

{NY Daily News/ Newscenter}