Bill de Blasio

De Blasio Campaign Finance Scandal Illustrates Root of Money in Politics Problem

Federal and state investigators reportedly probing donations by seller of garbage bags.

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diana robinson/flickr

A donor to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio who is under state and federal investigation got his trash bags into the hands of city officials after making a six-figure donation to Campaign for One New York, a political  fundraising operation for de Blasio that was closed amid scrutiny that it did not have to follow city campaign finance laws, the New York Post reports.

Last month a state board found "flagrant" campaign finance violations by de Blasio's fundraising team during the 2014 state legislative elections. Throuh a spokesperson, de Blasio insisted at the time everything was done "in accordance with the law at all times."

The donor identified by the Post, Joseph Dussich, runs a company, JAD Corp. of America, that makes mint-flavored garbage bags that are supposed to repel rodents and insects. That company, according to the Post, received a $15,000 no-bid contract for the city to try the bags out that is being investigated by federal authorities. The contract came after Dussich made a $100,000 donation.

The city decided to use the "Mint X" bag in all its parks. JAD lost a bid to sell the bags directly to the city, but will sell them to the company that won the $6 million contract instead. According to the Post, the bags account for half of that contract.

The apparent relationship between de Blasio's city government and Dussich and his company reveal a pernicious aspect of money in politics often omitted in critiques of campaign finance that seek to limit the free speech end of the transaction. If Dussich wanted to spend $100,000 to advocate for the election of de Blasio, or even to spend it on a "non-profit" as he did, he ought to be free to do so without fear of legal repercussion.

Reducing the influence of money on politics requires limiting the government's ability to spend other people's money, not limiting people's ability to spend their own. The 2016 election is littered with examples (Jeb!) of well-funded campaigns going nowhere or stumbling against smaller ones. Fearmongering over the amounts of money Americans spend to participate in political speech shifts attention away from the kinds of government spending (most of it) that provides the opportunity for types like de Blasio and his various hangers-on to profit off government, with or without any additional influence.

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  1. Reducing the influence of money on politics requires limiting the government’s ability to spend other people’s money, not limiting people’s ability to spend their own

    Ed made a funny.

    1. Remember the Iron Law:

      Money and power will always find each other.

    2. A funny because its so, well, true.

      The only reasons most companies spend money in politics is to get their stuff on the list of approved stuff.

      Yes, I admit, there are those who do it for real political reasons. But they are almost to hard to sus out these days. Which in reality is sad. because now, all donors including you and me are suspect. Even if all we want is to be left alone.

  2. Reducing the influence of money on politics requires limiting the government’s ability to spend other people’s money, not limiting people’s ability to spend their own.

    More specifically, it requires limiting power. The power to extract money and compel behavior under threat of imprisonment and death.

  3. This scandal really illustrates how trashy politicians are.

    /exit stage left.

    1. [tries veal, tips waitress]

    2. What a load of rubbish.

  4. The donor identified by the Post, Joseph Dussich, runs a company, JAD Corp. of America, that makes mint-flavored garbage bags that are supposed to repel rodents and insects.

    Seems like this violation…

    [dons sunglasses]

    …was a fragrant one.

    1. YEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAH!

  5. What’s really funny is that there are people who actually think politicians have an interest in getting money out of politics, rather than just directing that money through their campaign and silencing outside voices.

    Whenever I run into people who argue we need better people in charge and it will all work, I wonder how they plan to keep the right people in charge into perpetuity. We are at a point in history where anyone dares to suggest that big government is dangerous you get looked at like a conspiracy nut. We can trust our government because it’s democratic. We’d almost be better off if the Republic did die. At least then there wouldn’t be this charade that the government represents the will of the people.

  6. All government spending is politically driven. People who say they want to get money out of politics and then say they want more government programs are contradicting themselves.

    1. People who say they want to get money out of politics really mean they want to get YOUR money out of politics. Keeping their money in politics is just fine.

  7. Reducing the influence of money on politics requires limiting the government’s ability to spend other people’s money, not limiting people’s ability to spend their own.

    BOOM.

    meanwhile i haven’t seen any mention of the investigations connected to Cuomo, which of course are related to ‘huge handouts of government money for ostensibly collective benefits (“Buffalo Billion” – Get it?? – & Nano-something) which were inevitably going to be used for crony handouts/perks/benefits

  8. RE: De Blasio Campaign Finance Scandal Illustrates Root of Money in Politics Problem

    What?
    Money and politics mixing?
    Who would’ve thought?

  9. I like how they lose the contract to sell directly, but still get in to sell to the company that won the contract.

    Implies they needed another layer of donors.

    1. I wonder how much the guys who won donated?

  10. Campaign finance restrictions also make it hard for the non-wealthy to run for office. If I start writing great op-eds, giving speeches, and announce a run for office, a wealthy dot-com millionaire can’t be the backbone of my campaign spending. Of course, if my wife was that dot-com millionaire, apparently I can just open my checkbook and buy what I want.

    1. You’ve provided two possible solutions to your own problem:

      1. Have your wife start a successful dot com.
      2. If you’re not married, marry someone rich.

  11. It isn’t money that makes politics corrupt, it’s power. Give less power to politicians to influence things, and the money will go away.

    1. Simple no? There was this document once, I forget the name at the moment. Also, there was this idea…ummm, what was it? Anyone?

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