From the NY Post:
Just two weeks after state Sen. Malcolm Smith’s bribery bust, a Queens GOP boss offered a City Council hopeful the party’s endorsement in exchange for consulting jobs for him or some pals, The Post has learned.
First Vice Chairman Stephen Graves — a regular in poker games with Smith’s co-defendants, City Councilman Dan Halloran and ex-Republican power broker Vincent Tabone — made the pitch to Sunny Hahn on April 16, sources said.
He promised her the party’s endorsement as she looks to challenge Councilman Peter Koo for his Flushing seat. Koo was elected in 2009 on the GOP ticket, but later became a Democrat.
“If you . . . consider hiring me or [Republican] party people like me, it would help to get an endorsement,” Graves told Hahn, according to multiple sources.
“I called him back the next day and said, ‘I cannot accept an endorsement with conditions,’ ” Hahn told The Post.
Graves got nervous when she refused, and said, “No, didn’t mean that. I didn’t’ mean conditions,” Hahn claimed.
Graves denied offering an endorsement to Hahn in exchange for a consulting gig.
“That is completely, completely, completely and totally, totally a mischaracterization,” he told The Post.
“Even if I were so stupid to be that way in the first place — which I would not — in the current environment, that would be ridiculously dumb.”
Graves claims he stressed to Hahn that only the Queens GOP chairman, Phil Ragusa, could endorse a candidate.
But Ragusa distanced the party from Graves.
“If he went out and did it on his own, that’s not my problem,” he said.
“If what you’re saying is true, clearly, we are very upset because he never had the authority to do such a thing.”
Look folks, local politics is ALL about consulting contracts. You want to run, you have to hire the right firm, or you don't get the backing of the county organization. That goes for Democrats as well as Republicans. It's not about philosophy. It's about tweeding. The consultants get to feed off the 6-to-1 matching funds that we taxpayers hand over to the candidates. This may be one of the few times that a little sunlight has fallen upon the practice.