Speaking of Money, and a Crafty Fidler

A key element in Gifford Miller’s surprise rise to City Council Speaker was money. He rounded it up in his East Side district, and spread it around to grateful colleagues and candidates.

Four years later, Speaker wannabes are, to varying degrees, following his lesson, though the wise men and women are cautioning us that the same trick may not work twice.

Melinda Katz – the Council’s land-use czarina, which is kind of like being from the East Side as far as fundraising ability goes — leads the pack, but don’t miss crafty Lew Fidler, who has been spreading money around via an obscure committee called Friends of Lew Fidler IV, theoretically established for his candidacy for District Leader. While
the others’ records are online, Fidler’s move sent us down to the Board of Elections to get ink on our hands.

Here are the totals, through the end of last year, on transfers from Council members to candidates and colleagues who will still be around next year:

Melinda Katz: $8,050
Christine Quinn: $6,450
David Weprin: $4,500
Lew Fidler: $3,150 ($2,750 through Friends of Lew Fidler IV)
Bill De Blasio: $3,100
Leroy Comrie: $0

Quinn has also been generous with some of the pressure groups that helped push Miller over the top. She transferred $3,000 to the Working Families Party, and $2,500 to the liberal advocacy group ACORN. Fidler, for his part, gave a — in some circles — rather impolitic $150 last year to Councilman Hiram Monserrate, Co-Chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, and perpetual thorn in the side of the Queens Democratic Party.