So, how will today’s revelation affect Christine Quinn’s political future?
Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf said, “We’re required to give Speaker Quinn the benefit of the doubt, especially since she announced today she was the person who alerted law enforcement to the problem.”
“We don’t know the impact because we don’t know what will occur here," added Sheinkopf, who has worked for likely mayoral candidate Bill Thompson. "The good news is, from a P.R. and political perspective, she got in front of the story. The bad news is that she’s in the story. And only time will tell if she remains in the story.”
Dick Dadey, executive director of Citizens Union, was somewhat more critical. “It’s not a good use of taxpayer funds," he told me. "I believe Speaker Quinn tried to end the practice and did not. And it’s at odds with her success as a reformer, and bringing transparency to the budget process.”
“I don’t think there’s any wrongdoing," said former Speaker Peter Vallone Sr. "I don’t have the facts, but I don’t think there’s any wrongdoing here. At most, it’s an innocent mistake.”
Of course, Vallone also confirmed that, as speaker, he “parked” taxpayer money to make up for funding shortfalls.
“I think the wrongdoing [would be]: Where was the money spent? How was it spent? Where was it spent?” he added. Vallone, now a lobbyist, said if the money wound up being used to fund legitimate groups, then Quinn won’t be badly damaged.
Michael Bloomberg, an ally of Quinn, proudly defended her at a press conference today.
He told reporters in Manhattan, “Christine Quinn I’ve worked with for six years now. She’s the most honest person I know.”
When asked if he knew about the practice, Bloomberg responded, “I just told you, the first I knew about it was today. If I found there were fake organizations in there, do you really think that I would sign the budget? Thank you very much. I would hope you’d expect a little more from me, for goodness’ sake.”