Wednesday, May 30, 2012
Ackerman chooses Meng - for financial gain?
From the NY Times:
Representative Gary L. Ackerman, who unexpectedly announced in March that he would not seek re-election to Congress, is venturing into the primary contest to succeed him, backing the candidate he says best embodies his values: Assemblywoman Grace Meng.
Mr. Ackerman’s decision, to be announced Tuesday morning at the Pomonok Senior Center in Flushing, Queens, was hardly assured, given his reputation as an eccentric politician not known for regularly making endorsements. And while some political analysts assumed that Mr. Ackerman favored Ms. Meng, the choice of Representative Joseph Crowley and the Queens Democratic establishment, his pledge to campaign vigorously on her behalf could help sway constituents who have supported him during his nearly 30-year career.
Mr. Ackerman, in an interview, praised Ms. Meng’s chief competitors in the June 26 primary, Assemblyman Rory I. Lancman and City Councilwoman Elizabeth S. Crowley. Indeed, Mr. Ackerman said that all three were “philosophically close to the same place” on key issues like Israel and economic advocacy for the middle class.
But in what could be viewed as critiques of Mr. Lancman, an aggressive legislator who once mulled challenging Mr. Ackerman, and Ms. Crowley, whose candidacy has soured her relationship with her cousin, Congressman Crowley, Mr. Ackerman, 69, said that Ms. Meng’s self-effacing style and background as a fellow child of immigrants had won him over.
From City and State:
In a much-hyped press conference yesterday in Queens, veteran Congressman Gary Ackerman endorsed Assemblywoman Grace Meng to be his successor in Washington, D.C. – but did not bring up the fact that he has a financial interest in Meng’s campaign.
In a sometimes heated interview after the event, Ackerman did confirm that he is a part-owner of the Queens-based political consulting and printing firm Multi-Media, which is serving as the primary consultant to Meng’s well-funded congressional campaign.
Ackerman told City & State repeatedly that the financial relationship with Meng’s campaign had no role in the endorsement, which was described by the New York Times as “hardly assured” because of Ackerman’s reputation as an eccentric who does not usually back candidates.
“Did it affect my endorsement? No,” Ackerman said, acknowledging that he was aware of Meng’s business relationship with the consulting firm he co-owns before making his endorsement decision. “[Multi-Media] doesn’t run my life and I don’t run their business.”