Friday, December 14, 2012


Built on deception, the Independence Party boosted Michael Bloomberg into office in three elections

Mayor used money to strengthen ties with the party and its leaders

Updated: Friday, December 14, 2012, 4:10 AM

Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks to the New York Independence Party at a meeting inside the Avalon Hotel.  At right is Cathy L. Stewart, New York County Chair.

Giancarli, Alfred Freelance, NYDN

Mayor Bloomberg with Independence Party leader Cathy Stewart.

Much ado about next to nothing, Mayor Bloomberg said of this series of editorials about the Independence Party. “What’s the big deal?” he asked.
To answer the question: The big deal is that a clique of political operatives with no claim to broad public support has played a powerful role in determining who runs New York — notably Bloomberg — while making dupes of voters.
By the thousands, New Yorkers have mistakenly joined the Independence Party when enrolling to vote. Intending to have no political affiliation, these voters instead checked the “Independence Party” box — empowering the group to exploit an illusion of popular strength.
Still more seriously, Independence leaders have exercised the authority to back candidates by stocking legally mandated governing panels with the names of unwitting people, many of whom have no idea they are listed as party members.
Bearing the earmarks of orchestrated fraud, the tactics represent a distortion of the democratic process as it has been established by state law and court rulings.
That the party’s leaders are members of a cultish group steeped in a bizarre combination of Marxist philosophy and sex therapy puts an exclamation point on the illegitimacy of their influence over who gets elected mayor, controller and public advocate.
No New York official has built closer ties to Independence leaders or benefited more from their support than Bloomberg. He ran as their candidate in three mayoral campaigns, twice scoring votes on the Independence line that exceeded his margin of victory.
For New Yorkers who supported Bloomberg’s elections, the upside of his alliance with the late Fred Newman, the party’s lunatic and odious guru, was, obviously, that Newman helped the mayor win. Who cares how?
At the same time, voters in the opposing camp can fairly argue that Bloomberg squeaked into office in his first and third races with a boost from cheaters. Based on the findings of this series, the mayor’s detractors have solid grounds to believe that they got taken.
Which is a very big deal and will continue to be as Newman’s acolytes influence next year’s mayoral election by granting a candidate or candidates permission to run on their ballot line, as Bloomberg did.
The history of how he secured the favor offers both a look at Independence Party power playing and an understanding of how determinedly the mayor courted the Newmanites. As you might expect, money played a key role.
Roll the clock back to 2001. Although Bloomberg opened what seemed the world’s largest checkbook, he was handicapped as a Republican running in a Democratic city.
Only three modern Republicans — Fiorello LaGuardia, John Lindsay and Rudy Giuliani — had made it into City Hall. All had succeeded by running as the GOP candidate and as the candidate of a second party. No dummy, Bloomberg reached out to Independence Party state Chairman Frank MacKay.
Word came back that Bloomberg needed Newman’s blessing. So the aspiring mayor made a pilgrimage to 60 Bank St., a West Village townhouse where Newman lived with his followers.

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