Senate Republicans Give $90,000 To Independence Party
3:27 pm • 10 September 2012
The New York Senate Republicans have recently made $90,000 in donations to the campaign committee of the New York Independence Party, according to 24-hour notices posted on the Board of Elections website and the Independence Party’s most recent campaign finance filing. Two of the donations were made in August, while a $50,000 donation was made on September 6.
The donations to the Independence Party, led by chairman Frank MacKay, would seem to demonstrate the renewed closeness of the relationship between that party, whose influential ballot line can provide the margin of victory in close elections under New York’s fusion voting system, and the GOP.
For years, the Independence Party, which had close relations with erstwhile Senate Republican Majority Leader Joe Bruno, primarily supported Republican candidates. In 2010, when Democrats held the majority, the endorsements largely went to incumbents of either party.
With Republicans back in control of the majority – and after providing the necessary four votes to pass the gay marriage bill, which MacKay supported – the Independence Party has thrown its line to the Republicans in a number of key races. For instance, the party is backing State Sen. Mark Grisanti (who it did not back in 2010), Queens Councilman Eric Ulrich (after backing his opponent, Democratic State Sen. Joe Addabbo in 2010) and Westchester Republican Bob Cohen, who is running for an open seat.
As of July, the Independence Party’s campaign account had virtually no money on hand. In fact, all of its various committees (including its housekeeping account) had been rather bereft compared to past years, when its coffers were flooded by money from the real estate industry and Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Of course, a $1.2 donation in 2009 from Bloomberg, passed through the Independence Party’s housekeeping account, went rather awry. Political operative John Haggerty was convicted on charges of stealing $750,000 from Bloomberg’s campaign late last year, while the Independence Party also had to repay $150,000 in funds it received from Bloomberg.
Still, that doesn’t necessarily mean that money won’t flow in the Independence Party’s account as Election Day approaches. The party also got $60,000 through two donations from the real estate industry in August, campaign finance records show, and some $80,000 more in recent days.