Christine Quinn, under attack, defends the matching-funds program

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City Council Speaker Christine Quinn is the target of a million-dollar campaign ad blitz, as reported the Times.

The group behind the ads calls itself New York City is Not For Sale, and the ad was produced by Scott Levenson of the Advance Group.

In the Times, Quinn's campaign spokesman attributes the campaign to Quinn's mayoral rival Bill de Blasio, the city's public advocate, who has made transparency in campaign spending a key issue.

De Blasio's spokesman denied any involvement in the ads.

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After speaking to small business owners on the Upper West Side this morning, Quinn refused to lay the blame on any particular opponent, but said independent expenditures have "no place" in New York City elections because of the 6-to-1 matching funds candidates receive.

Speaking to reporters, Quinn characterized the ads as an assault on the "gold standard" matching-funds program.

"What we're seeing here today, whether it was focused on me or anybody else who is running, is not appropriate, really anywhere, but certainly not appropriate in New York City in this terrific public campaign finance system we have," Quinn said. "And I just hope this is the first and the last in terms of any candidate for or against because we have no place for this type of independent expenditure in our great public system." A Post reporter asked Quinn if she would be opposed to a similar "ad attacking one of your opponents."

"Absolutely. Absolutely," Quinn said. "I don't care who the ad is about. I don't care who the ad is from. We have no place for this type of indecent expenditure in New York City's campaign system."

When asked by a NY1 reporter if she thought one of her opponents was behind the ads, Quinn demurred.

"All I know about the ads is what I read in the newspapers and see on television," she said.

Here's the ad that the group says will appear on MSNBC and other networks.

 

 

Among other things, this outside ad campaign has put both Quinn and de Blasio in a funny position, relative to one another, on the correctness of independent expenditures.

Quinn, a close ally of Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has spent millions of dollars influencing outside elections and swamped the city campaign finance system with his spending on his own behalf, said that an independent expenditure like the one funding the attacks on her "is not appropriate, really anywhere."

Meanwhile, de Blasio, who has railed against the Supreme Court's decision to lift limits on corporate spending in elections, said today that the group paying to attack Quinn was acting perfectly legally.

"That is their right," he said, at a press conference outside City Hall this morning.