Monday, June 28, 2010
Probing Joe's dough
From the Daily News:
When [Joe Crowley] was first elected to Congress, labor unions were his biggest financial backers. They've been eclipsed by financial, insurance and real estate interests, records compiled by the nonpartisan Center for Responsive Politics show.
By the 2008 election, half of Crowley's contributions came from those three industries.
"I think I've matured here both personally and in terms of my assignments," Crowley said. "Many people here in Washington view me as an important figure."
In October, as the House wrestled with financial regulatory reform, Crowley and several other members of the New Democrat Coalition traveled to Wall Street to meet with JPMorgan and Goldman Sachs executives.
Crowley said the financial powerhouses are "important to New York."
"I don't think there's anything wrong with listening to people who will be affected by the legislation you're going to pass," he said.
Crowley also has received tens of thousands of campaign dollars from real estate investment trusts - companies that use investors' money to purchase and manage commercial real estate.
Since 2008, a political action committee of the National Association of Real Estate Investment Trusts has donated $33,500 for Crowley's campaign and leadership PAC.
His donors had reason to be pleased with him. In 2008, Crowley pushed legislation that let the trusts resell properties faster without tax penalties.
"Mr. Crowley was very much central to the cause on the House side," one industry observer said.
Then on Jan. 27, Crowley sponsored the Real Estate Revitalization Act of 2010 - a bill that would lower taxes on foreigners investing in real estate trusts.
Four days later, Crowley flew to L.A. to attend the Grammy awards, at one point posing with pop star Katy Perry.
While he was there, Peter Lowy, a top executive of the Westfield Group, an Australian-based developer whose lobbyists have pushed Crowley's bill, organized a Crowley fund-raiser at a restaurant called Toscanova.
Lowy and his wife also have contributed $18,800 to Crowley since February 2008.
A spokesman for Westfield said Lowy hosted the L.A. event as an individual. Crowley insisted it was "crazy" to think campaign money had any impact on his decision to sponsor the legislation.
He said he's gone against the real estate trusts, including raising taxes on profits for investment managers. "I have never, ever, ever sold my vote," he said.
HA HA HA HA HA HA HA HA!!!