Saturday, October 3, 2009

No such thing as too much money

To market Bounty paper towels last year, Procter & Gamble spent about $63 million. To advertise Yoplait Light yogurt, General Mills spent about $62 million.

But these corporate giants have nothing on Michael. R. Bloomberg. To hold on to his job as mayor this year, he has spent $65 million of his own money, according to his latest financial disclosure report, released on Friday. Mayor Michael. R. Bloomberg, left, is expected to spend more this year than he did in his campaigns in 2001 and 2005.

Having much money qualifies him to buy political office, a decidedly undemocratic practice.

William C. Thompson Jr., Mr. Bloomberg's Democratic rival who is still scrambling to raise money from donors.

The mayor has spent 16 times as much as his Democratic rival, William C. Thompson Jr., who is still scrambling to raise money from donors. And at his current pace, Mr. Bloomberg is on track to easily spend more than $100 million by Election Day on Nov. 3

The City Council went along with his proposal to repeal term limits; ridiculous. And he became a Republican to win this first election, he has been a Democrat, and is now Independent. What the hell is he?

The disclosure of the figures drew expressions of outrage from Democrats and from supporters of campaign finance limits.

“It badly distorts the city’s democracy to have one candidate spend his own money like a drunken sailor — or more accurately, like a million drunken sailors,” said Gene Russianoff, staff attorney for the New York Public Interest Research Group, a nonpartisan government watchdog organization.

He described the $65 million figure as “grotesquely excessive.”

Grotesque is a good start; I'll add obscene, undemocratic.

But Jill Hazelbaker, a spokeswoman for Mr. Bloomberg’s campaign, defended the spending as prudent. “We’re confident that Mike Bloomberg’s record of progress on job creation, crime and education will prevail over Bill Thompson’s record of failure,” she said. “But we’re not taking anything for granted.”

His campaign is spending so much money because Bloomberg has a good record?

According to the latest filing, as of Sept. 28, the mayor had spent $22 million to saturate television channels with his commercials, $10 million on campaign mailings and $3.4 million on wages for campaign workers.

Three and a half million dollars on wages?

By comparison, Mr. Thompson has spent $305,000 on TV ads, $2,000 on campaign mailings and $529,000 on wages for workers. Overall, Mr. Thompson, who has been the city’s comptroller since 2002, has raised $5.6 million, received almost $2.5 million in matching funds, and spent $3.8 million — equivalent, roughly, to Vermont’s annual advertising budget for tourism.

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