Mayor Mike Bloomberg, who has more money than God and doesn't have to follow campaign finance rules because he pays his own way, is proposing new rules that should apply to everybody else.
Re-election campaign spokesman Howard Wolfson unveiled Bloomberg's do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do suggestions, which included: A ban on public matching dollars for funds raised by lobbyists, more frequent disclosures of donations from big businessmen, as well as barring investment advisers from doing business in the city within two years of making a campaign contribution here.
Bloomberg's opponents said he lacked credibility in his motives for reform.
"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," Eduardo Castell, campaign manager for Thompson, who will likely challenge Bloomberg on the Democratic ticket come November, told the Daily News.
"Mike Bloomberg doesn't take a dome in special interest money," Wolfson pointed out. "No one will ever have to wonder whether contributions influence his decisions... He works only for the tax-payers."
Of course, it's arguable how much work you can get out of someone who is independently wealthy.
Gene Russianoff, of the New York Public Interest Research Group, told the News the campaign finance proposals were "definitely political," but added, "That doesn't mean it's wrong... these are good proposals."
He noted that Bloomberg would "have more credibility if he'd support measures to help candidates facing high-spending self-financed opponents like himself."
Meanwhile, Thompson's campaign today filed a complaint with the Campaign Finance Board against Bloomberg’s mayoral campaign for allegedly failing to disclose over $3.35 million in political contributions for the 2009 election cycle.
“This is Republican Mike Bloomberg’s mega-million version of pay-to-play politics,” said Castell. “By hiding his political contributions and denying their influence, Mike Bloomberg is undermining campaign finance law and once again playing by his own rules.”
In response, Bloomberg's people dug up $6,000 that Thompson allegedly gave to the Working Families Party in 2002 and 2003 without disclosing.
“In 2002 and in 2003, Mr. Thompson gave a total of $6,000 to the Working Families Party and never reported those contributions on his campaign filing," said Wolfson. "Perhaps Mr. Thompson and his staff should have examined his own record before making today’s phony attack.”