Sunday, July 15, 2012

Quinn's Political Patronage System ?

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has millions of discretionary dollars to dole out as she gears up for her run for mayor.

Christine Quinn benefits from the appearance of a conflict of interest, as she disperses millions of taxpayer dollars to community groups. Does Speaker Quinn's generosity with public money come at an expectation for political support ?

From The New York Daily News :

City Council Speaker Christine Quinn may not have Mayor Bloomberg’s billions, but she does have City Council millions.

As the Manhattan Democrat contemplates her campaign for mayor, she enjoys a political boon that has to make her opponents salivate — millions of dollars in pork that’s hers to hand out like party favors. And hand it out she does — to an Italian-American group in Brooklyn, a Hispanic center in the Bronx and an AIDS task force on Staten Island.

Like all Council members, Quinn has a pot of discretionary money to fund local concerns in her district, such as senior centers or nearby museums. But as Council speaker, she also controls a huge stash of $15.7 million that she can spread to groups around the city.

“Having tens of millions of dollars available to distribute to Council members and their constituents translates to votes,” said Baruch College political scientist Doug Muzzio. “It gives her an advantage, a significant advantage, as a matter of fact. The money helps her win support for legislative initiatives among Council members and also raises her profile among voters.”

Read more : It appears that City Council Speaker Christine Quinn has millions of your tax dollars to give out to community groups, but people question whether these payments come in exchange for political support (a.k.a. political patronage) ?

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