The Spirit Of The Law?
Friday’s New York Times reports that Comptroller Bill Thompson and Congressman Anthony Weiner have raised money from limited liability corporations and partnerships despite the law enacted by the City Council banning these businesses from contributing to City candidates.
The story strongly implies that Thompson & Weiner did something wrong - that they used a loophole to evade the law.
Here’s what Thompson & Weiner did, according to the Times –During the six-month lag between the signing of the ban by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, on July 3, 2007, and when it took effect, on Jan. 1, 2008, Mr. Weiner raised $211,249 from limited liability corporations and partnerships, records show — twice as much as any other candidate in the city. After the law was signed, City Comptroller William C. Thompson Jr., another Democratic candidate for mayor, raised $50,174 from such companies — including $2,500 from five limited liability corporations on Dec. 31, 2007, just hours before the ban officially began. So Weiner & Thompson followed the unambiguous law and raised funds legally before the new law took affect. But as the Times reports “government watchdog groups say that Mr. Weiner’s and Mr. Thompson’s fund-raising violated the spirit of the new law.”
The Times did not apparently think it was important to ask the groups why, if the spirit of the law prevented candidates from raising this money from July to January, the actual law allowed it.
My question to the Times and the good government groups is this – if the Times announces on March 1 that the cost of the daily paper will be raised from $1.50 to $2.00 starting on April 1, will New Yorkers be violating the spirit and taking advantage of a loophole by continuing to pay $1.50 during that time?
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