Friday, March 18, 2011

Bruce Ratner's late 2010 campaign contributions: $12,500 to AG candidate Schneiderman, $7500 to the Senate Republicans

To architect Frank Gehry, whose grasp of development politics appears (in retrospect) enormously shaky, Bruce Ratner is "politically like me" and a fellow "liberal, do-gooder".

But a look at Ratner's pattern of campaign contributions again suggests otherwise.

Would a "liberal, do-gooder" in New York State give $7500 to the New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee, as Ratner did on 11/1/10?

Or would that donor more likely be, as I wrote in February 2008, someone who "plays hardball when it counts?

The Schneiderman contribution

Ratner on 10/28/10 also gave $12,500 to the campaign of Democratic Attorney General candidate Eric Schneiderman, who won his race with 55 percent of the vote.

(The contribution limit in statewide elections is $37,800.)

Could that be an effort to ensure that Schneiderman not pursue a lingering investigation from the Andrew Cuomo-led AG's office into the Downtown Brooklyn Partnership's lobbying on behalf of Atlantic Yards and other projects?

Or is it just to make sure that Schneiderman takes some calls ahead of others?

Previous coverage

Last year, I noted $12,500 in contributions to Cuomo's gubernatorial campaign, $2000 to Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli's campaign, and $10,000 to New York Uprising, the clean-up-Albany project spearheaded by former New York City Mayor Ed Koch, Citizens Union Director Dick Dadey, and former New York City Parks Commissioner and New York Civic Director Henry Stern, Ratner's mentor.

As I wrote 1/6/10, those studying the history of campaign finance reform might conclude, by reading a 2002 book by reformer and former New York City Comptroller Mark Green, that Brooklyn developer Bruce Ratner is a prominent "refusenik," having set himself apart from the sullied system that gets candidates elected in New York.

They'd be wrong. Ratner has long been back to playing the game. As I wrote way back in February 2008, Forest City Ratner notably gave $58,420 to the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee's Housekeeping account, part of soft money system the New York Times editorial page later dubbed (without reference to Ratner) "sewer money."

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