The (helpful) friends of Anthony Weiner
There was an important volunteer helping Anthony Weiner in Park Slope yesterday.
Politico's Maggie Haberman spotted Jim Margolis among the folks on Weiner's parents' stoop, who appeared to be filming a campaign video that seems likely to be Weiner's formal announcement of a campaign.
The video, which WNBC's Melissa Russo reported, was being shot the same day that the New York Times revealed that Margolis, a highly regarded media consultant, would not be formally joining Weiner's campaign team. Not having Margolis also meant not having Anson Kaye, a former chief of staff and spokesman for Weiner, who now works for Margolis. They were seen as two of the more trusted advisers who had worked with Weiner in the past and wouldn't have to break a commitment to one of the current candidates to join Weiner's team. (Their firm, GMMB, is working for Scott Stringer, who dropped out of the mayor's race earlier this year to run for comptroller.)
Haberman reported that Margolis, who is based in Washington, D.C., was just in Brooklyn to help Weiner as a friend.
He joins other friends who have helped the former congressman try to re-enter public life.
Risa Heller, the communications specialist who provided paid help to Weiner through his scandal, has attended television tapings with him, but also in an officially non-professional, friendly capacity.
If you were wondering, these donations of time, even for professional services, don't appear to count as a donation. A glossary on the campaign finance board's website states: "'In-kind contribution' does not include personal services provided without compensation by individuals volunteering a portion or all of their time on behalf of a candidate or authorized committee."
A spokesman for the board said individuals are allowed to volunteer their time, but can't volunteer the services of their firm, and individuals cannot serve as volunteers and vendors to a campaign at the same time.
In Weiner's case, that would seem to mean that Margolis can't produce a Weiner video at his GMMB office, using GMMB staff, without counting that work as a contribution to the campaign.
Weiner's official campaign team is unlikely to possess the level of experience that his friendly advisers do. So far, his one reported hire is Danny Kedem, a relatively young campaign manager who has worked smaller races in and out of New York City.
Weiner's only expenditure for campaign help over the last two months was a $5,000 payment to Jessica Provenz, the playwright who helped him refresh his Keys to the City policy book.