NYC Mayor Launches New PAC
By Jillian Jorgensen
Third time's the charm!
That's the hope of Mayor de Blasio, who is launching yet another fund-raising effort to further his national progressive agenda -- this time, a federal political action committee dubbed Fairness PAC that will also pick up the tab for his political travels.
"We have a lot we have to get done for New York City that cannot be done just here," de Blasio said. "There are things that New York City needs that happen in Albany, that happen in Washington, that cannot happen with the current political status quo."
The mayor's previous forays into raising money outside of the city's campaign finance system have not ended well. His Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit that accepted unlimited donations, drew the attention of prosecutors -- and left him with a massive legal bill that he's aiming pay off with yet another fund-raising entity, a legal-defense fund that the City Council would first have to create a law to allow.
And there was also his Progressive Agenda Committee, another nonprofit vehicle that aimed to promote progressive candidates in the 2016 presidential race. A related presidential forum was canceled due to lack of interest from the candidates, marking a low point in de Blasio's attempt at playing progressive kingmaker.
The mayor outlined a handful of rules the newest PAC will voluntarily follow in order to avoid some of the questions raised by his prior efforts: no corporate donations, no donations from corporate PACs, none from city lobbyists (though state and federal can donate), none from anyone on the list of those doing business with the city, and a $5,000 contribution limit.
The PAC is sure to raise questions about de Blasio's plans for his own political future -- and for that of his wife, Chirlane McCray, who has said she is considering running for office. But Hizzoner shot down the idea of a presidential run.
"I am committed to filling out this term until December 31, 2021," he said.
De Blasio said that with about 100 days until the 2018 elections, he was planning to choose, in the "coming days," which candidates he would support for federal and state office, and then decide how to work with them. That will involve travel outside the city -- another thing for which he's faced criticism.
"There's obviously many things I need to attend to here, so I'm going to try and figure out according to how I can have the right impact," he said when asked how often he expects to be out of the city. "I don't have a particular amount for you."
On a well-publicized trip to give a speech in Iowa, home of the first primary, last December, de Blasio struck a similar note -- insisting that he could handle the local issues in his portfolio as mayor and traveling around pushing the Democratic party to the left at the same time, because they are like walking and chewing gum.
"I think we'll strike the balance," he said again Thursday.
Moments later, he was asked about an issue that's about as local as it gets -- whether the city had figured out who was responsible for removing dead deer from the private property of Staten Island residents. He didn't have an answer.
"So, let's -- to be straightforward, I don't have an update," he said. "Give me 24 hours and we'll get you one."
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