Given the current atmosphere of scandals and investigations surrounding Big Apple Mayor Bill de Blasio it’s tough to remember that he recently harbored national ambitions. He clearly saw himself in line for either the Governor’s office, a New York senate seat or, dare we say it… the White House? There was obviously some interest among New York City progressives to promote his liberal agenda and expand his profile, so with that in mind they set up a national fundraising group to further those efforts. Named the Progressive Agenda Committee, the group set to work raising money and working on a platform of left wing ideas which would surely spread like wildfire across the nation.
Thus far however, the fundraising has been on the slow side. In fact, it consisted entirely of one donation. (Capital New York)
The Progressive Agenda Committee, the nonprofit organization created by allies of Mayor Bill de Blasio to help advance his national political agenda, did not raise any money from outside donors in 2015, with the entirety of its funding coming from $480,000 in seed funding made by the mayor’s other nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York.
The group spent the vast majority of that money — despite scaling back its aims for a national profile — with one-third of its revenues paid to a consulting firm closely allied with the mayor, according to a 2015 tax return the Progressive Agenda Committee (TPAC) made available on Monday…
The group was initially operated as part of the nonprofit Campaign For One New York, but filed paperwork to incorporate itself as a separate nonprofit organization last fall.
At the time, a spokeswoman said the group aimed to “raise money from those who believe in its mission of combatting inequality,” while using the $480,000 grant to seed its operations.
So in essence, the only money that the national de Blasio group came up with was the money it initially funneled off from an already existing group that the Mayor started. Nobody else was interested in donating. But still, they had nearly half a million dollars to kick things off and it’s almost all gone now. Rather than giving to candidates or raising public awareness in any fashion, the money went into the coffers of consultants, with a big chunk of it heading toward a firm “closely tied to Mayor de Blasio.” Is anyone else starting to sense a pattern here?
Most of the trouble de Blasio is in now centers on various pots of money which he raised and then shuffled around from place to place in various slush funds, much of it very difficult to account for. (To say the least.) Now the seed money for his own promotional group winds up in the pockets of crony consultants. I realize that progressives tend to be big on that whole wealth redistribution idea, but I don’t think this is what they describe in the pamphlets.
So where does all this money keep coming from? According to the New York Daily News, if you want access to the Mayor’s ear (and the many favors he can bestow) it’s gonna cost you some serious coin.
There should be a sign outside City Hall listing a price of admission — because it’s steep. For WeWork, a start-up that rents out short-term shared working and living spaces, entry started at $68,000.
That’s how much a company executive rounded up and delivered to Mayor de Blasio’s reelection campaign on Jan. 8 and 11 — after the firm’s $25,000-a-month lobbyist wangled a Jan. 6 phone call to discuss future business with Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen.
Whatever the outcome of investigations by Manhattan U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance, however close to the line of a quid pro quo that would amount to bribery, cash and access have gone hand in hand in de Blasio’s City Hall.
And access has been valuable.
Clearly these rules were just things that were “known” if you wanted to do business in New York City, but everyone was too polite to talk about them. But now that the lid is off the pot, everyone is coming forward with their own stories. This ship is going down by the bow at this point, but it’s really just another day in the modern Tammany Hall.