New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz, the only Democrat to vote against Governor Cuomo’s same-sex marriage bill passed and signed into law last month, claims that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg bought the votes of the four Republican Senators who voted for the marriage equality bill.
“It appears that State Senators Stephen Saland, Mark Grisanti, James Alesi and Roy McDonald sold their votes to the Mayor of New York City Michael Bloomberg for $10,300 each,” Diaz writes today, adding, on his official New York State government website, “If this is not a quid pro quo, please tell me what this is?”
In fact, Mayor Bloomberg spent a great deal of time and money (reportedly $100,000) working hard to get marriage equality passed in the state of New York, because it was the right thing to do. Bloomberg will be officiating at the wedding of his chief policy adviser, John Feinblatt, and the city’s commissioner of consumer affairs, Jonathan Mintz. (Bloomberg last year donated millions of dollars to charity, too. Does Senator Diaz have an issue with how the Red Cross is spending its receipts?)
“The mayor, a Democrat turned Republican turned independent, has long been a significant financial contributor to the state Senate Republican conference, which in June became the first GOP-controlled legislative body to pass a marriage equality bill,” The Advocate reported today. “Two years ago, when the marriage equality bill failed in the Senate, then controlled by Democrats, no Republican voted for the measure. That led some activists to question the influence of the mayor, who this year delivered a high-profile speech on marriage equality and contributed hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaign to pass the bill.”
Diaz apparently is taking his cue from his partners in anti-gay crime, hate groups like the Family Research Council, and its president, Tony Perkins, who last month claimed, as Equality Matters reported, that “taxpayer funded” incentives were used to “sway votes” in New York, and NOM president Brian Brown, who claimed that a “number of pro-gay marriage Republicans, including Ken Mehlman, and others that raised a significant amount of money – over about $2.5 million. And the way Albany works – there’s a lot of corruption there – and basically these Republicans sold their vote to the highest bidder.”
Does New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz also take issue with the National Organization for Marriage — his new BFF — for its pledge to financially support Senators who voted against marriage equality?
As Equality Matters in the same report stated, “In fact, NOM’s campaign in New York relied heavily on using the prospect of campaign funding (and the risk of losing that funding if a legislator decided to support marriage equality) to sway on-the-fence politicians.
“And in case anyone is counting, NOM did the exact same thing in Maryland earlier this year, again pledging $1 million and even referencing (ironically enough) New York Senator Ruben Diaz as an example that anti-gay legislators will have access to the organization’s deep pockets of campaign support:
“We want to be sure those courageous Democrats who cast their vote of conscience in favor of marriage will have a strong supporter if the radical gay activists come after them in their next primary election.”
The NOM PAC Maryland is similar to a PAC formed in New York by NOM, which successfully defended Democrats who supported marriage, despite a major effort by pro-gay marriage advocates to defeat several Democrats in their primaries who had stood up for marriage. In fact, NOM supported candidates like state senator Ruben Diaz, won by larger margins than before their votes against same-sex marriage.
But New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz ought to be careful to not throw stones in his own glass house. One might very well ask questions of his questionable campaign recording, including the fact that Diaz’s campaign finance disclosure report has not been filed and is six months overdue.
Or perhaps Diaz’s constituents would like to know where the $9500 he accepted from “Friends of Carl Kruger” — a fellow New York State Senator who is under federal indictment in a million-dollar bribery scandal — really came from, and if that money is involved in the bribery scandal.
Perhaps Senator Diaz’s constituents would also like to know about the $3000 he accepted from “Soundview Management Enterprises,” former Senator Pedro Espada’s company from which Senator Espada is charged in a federal indictment with “siphoning more than half a million dollars in federal money … and spending it on meals, theater tickets and a lavish birthday party, among other expenses.”
Of former NY State Senator Eric Scheiderman, now NY Attorney General, Diaz strangely writes, “I remember the way he viciously went after Hiram Monserrate and I see the way he now uses his office of Attorney General to investigate inconsequential things and go after community organizations and not investigating apparent violations like people buying and selling votes.”
Perhaps Diaz’s constituents would like to know if their Senator’s promise to officiate at former New York State Senator Hiram Monserrate’s wedding (Monserrate, the man convicted of slashing his girlfriend on her face with a broken glass, and subsequently kicked out of the Senate,) had anything to do with the $5000 he accepted from “Monserrate 2010?”
Ah, yes, New York State Senator and Reverend Rubén Díaz, the company you keep is rather important. Your close and continued relationship with people under federal indictment says a lot about who you are, and your morals.
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