Thursday, February 13, 2020

Notorious Pay to Play practitioner endorses Billionaire

"One who increases his possessions by usury and extortion
Gathers it for him who will pity the poor."
Proverbs 28:8

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner endorsed Michael Bloomberg for president, Bloomberg’s campaign announced Thursday morning.

The backing of the mayor of the fourth largest city in America is Bloomberg’s most high profile Texas endorsement yet. It also gives Bloomberg another nod from a prominent black elected official as the billionaire grapples with pushback over his use of “stop and frisk” policies while he was mayor of New York City.

“As mayor, Mike embraced New York’s diversity and made smart investments that brought better infrastructure and greater opportunity to all five boroughs,” Turner, a Democrat, said in a statement released by the campaign. “We need a president who knows how cities run. It’s why I’m proud to endorse Mike for president, and I look forward to sending him to Washington in November.”
This is the point, dear reader, when the value of someone familiar with the inner workings of politics in BOTH New York City and Texas shows itself.

Because, if you know how each of this figures has operated for years, none of this is surprising.

First up, Turner:
Houston's Four Seasons hotel has a pretty pricey breakfast, but the big money on February 16, 2016, had nothing to do with the $19 egg breakfast. Emails from Houston City Hall show Mayor Sylvester Turner was at the Four Seasons that morning with the then-CEO of Kelsey-Seybold, the health clinic's marketing director and their city lobbyist for a breakfast meeting at 8 in the morning.

By 9 a.m., the meeting was over and an email from the lobbyist to the mayor's secretary says it "went very well."

The day went well for the Mayor's campaign, too. City records show on that very day the mayor's campaign reported $81,350 in donations from more than 120 Kelsey-Seybold doctors and executives. The campaign could've received the checks anytime between when Turner was sworn in and when he ate with the Kelsey team. When 13 Investigates looked the donor's names up in city databases, we found 87 percent of them had never given to a city political candidate ever before.

Michael Wynne, a former Assistant U.S. Attorney described the donations as "very, very unusual." Wynne is a former federal prosecutor who handled cases dealing with campaign donations. He now works to defend people accused of breaking those laws. He's not supporting anyone in Houston's mayoral race.

After reviewing the donations, Wynne told 13 Investigates, "In this instance, the number of people who had never been involved in the political circus whatsoever, all of a sudden decide to get involved. I think it's something that demands a little more scrutiny."
Meanwhile, Bloomberg:
The foundation of Bloomberg’s imperial mayoralty is, obviously, money. He’s used his vast personal fortune—$17.5 billion at last Forbes estimate—relentlessly and creatively to reverse the standard political dynamic: Instead of the special interests’ buying off the politicians, the city’s top politician has bought off the special interests. Money has allowed him to create the Bloomberg Party, whose clubhouse is the business elite and whose field troops are enlisted issue by issue. Bloomberg employs large segments of the city’s political class, directly and indirectly, and his philanthropy, often done in secret, gives him a very large circle of friends. Opposing him can be an exceedingly lonely occupation.


Bloomberg has certainly deepened the financial bond—or dependency—through the strategic use of his checkbook. His charitable contributions have increased exponentially from when he first decided to run for mayor. In 1999, he gave away $47 million; last year, the figure was $235 million. Some of the money is funneled through the Carnegie Corporation, as supposedly anonymous gifts. Last year, 542 New York charities and nonprofits received $60 million of such gifts.

Money is a stealth weapon in Bloomberg’s political arsenal. And, as fund-raiser-in-chief, the mayor can leverage his own giving by tapping his well-heeled associates. “The mayor has an enormous influence in charity, and he does so much of it anonymously,” Rubenstein says. “I talk to some of the institutions who are clients and I say, ‘Why don’t you appeal to the mayor for money?’ They say, ‘What do you mean, appeal? He’s been funding us for years!’ I just had that discussion a couple of days ago with one of my museum clients.”

Bloomberg has also ramped up his purely political spending. Some of it is surreptitious: In 2008, three of Bloomberg’s closest friends and business associates suddenly wrote checks for $50,000 to the Working Families Party. The money was then steered to State Senate candidate Daniel Squadron, who’d won Bloomberg’s endorsement in a race to unseat a longtime incumbent
This is a classic case of baksheesh.

Bottom Line: This morning's announcement should surprise nobody who's followed the respective careers of Sylvester Turner and Michael Bloomberg.


Note: That being said, it would be pretty funny is somebody asked Bloomberg and Turner about the Astros cheating scandal.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.