Thursday, September 17, 2009

WFP Scandal: Now the Wing Nuts have Ammunition

WFP and six local candidates, including Bill de Blasio (candidate for Public Advocate, ironically enough), Brad Lander, Daniel Dromm, et. al. broke campaign finance laws. That is a simple fact. WFP, and SOME (by no means all...John Liu for example did not participate) of their endorsed candidates played a little money scheme that allowed them to escape campaign finance laws that are designed to keep elections a tad cleaner and more transparent. They violated these laws, in effect using opaque and shady schemes to boost their effectiveness illegally.

Those are the facts and I personally think WFP needs to be held accountable for their do the candidates that participated.

Now some right wing nut cases (who I won't do the dignity of linking to) are picking up on this legitimate scandal and using it to show their attacks on ACORN (which WFP grew out of and is still connected with) were legit.

Goddamn it. The WFP and Bill de Blasio just gave these right wing nutcases ammunition to use against us. WFP in essence cheated and the Republicans are going to hold it against the Democratic Party. And those who really are interested in clean elections and fairness are left either helping the right wing nut cases expose WFP's scandal, or to let the scandal alone because we don't want to be associated with right wing nut cases.

This scandal is well documented by City Hall News in a whole series of excellent articles:

In these articles, WFP people basically ADMIT they were skirting the laws. They are even caught in some distortions of the truth. The Campaign Finance Board has said they violated the laws.

This whole thing was discussed even earlier on Room 8 by Hildy Johnson in a difficult to follow but nevertheless revealing article.

And yet some of my fellow progressives want to sweep this under the carpet just because some right wing nutcases want to use it as ammunition. I hear (privately so far) my fellow progressives saying it wasn't so bad what they did or it is class warfare or all sorts of nonsense. No folks. The WFP and Bill de Blasio got caught red handed breaking the law. One of the candidates involved, Daniel Dromm, I had even endorsed myself (before the WFP did) and I am happy enough he won. But he also should be investigated for this because we cannot tolerate breaking campaign finance laws even when we like the culprit. Maybe it will be found WFP took the lead and the candidates didn't know any better. Or maybe all 6, good and bad folks alike, were willing to bend or break the law to win. I don't know. But it should be treated like a scandal and investigated like a scandal even when we like one or more of those involved.

If you don't like the fact the right wing has some new ammunition in their stupid crusade against ACORN (and most of their crusade IS stupid and IS class warfarae), blame WFP. They are the ones who systematically violated the laws and so exposed the left to this criticism from the right. If we sweep it under the carpet, we are being as bad as the Republicans who hide their scandals as long as they can, and then blame the media when the scandal gets exposed. I like to think the left is better than that. When one of our own gets caught, say, with bribe money in his freezer, I like to think we reject the sleazeball. This year WFP violated laws and joined forces with the infamously corrupt Vito Lopez machine in Brooklyn. I will not deny that is a scandal just because the right has latched onto it.

I am not the first blogger to see it this way. Gatemouth on Room 8 has already discussed this exact aspect of the scandal:

So let's not follow the lead of the Republicans and try to hide our scandals. The WFP and six (only six!) of its candidates broke the law to try and get around campaign finance laws. It is that simple. Had Republicans done the exact same thing, every progressive blogger in the city would be on their case about it.

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