Ready for Hillary PAC, which was "founded to urge" former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to run for president in 2016, "officially launched Tuesday, complete with a new Web site to help the group ramp up its online fundraising operation. ... The group said this week that it is gaining more than 1,000 supporters a day and already has more than 100,000. It has also signed up well-known Democratic operatives and former Clinton aides to lead the effort." (Washington Post)
Clinton "made her public debut in her new role as prospective presidential candidate" with an appearance Tuesday at the Vital Voices Global Leadership Awards in which she "return[ed] to the issue that has animated her long career on the national stage — the empowerment of women around the globe." Clinton "used the occasion to cement what she considers a central legacy of her four years as the nation's top diplomat." Clinton and Vice President Biden, a potential 2016 rival, "were limited to the roles of presenting awards and they did not share a stage, although they came back out at the end together to wave to the crowd." (New York Times)
NEW YORK CITY MAYOR: Thanks Guys!
The details surrounding the arrest of state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D) and Councilor/2012 NY-06 nominee Dan Halloran (R) have "intensified the worry some voters feel about the city's machine politics reasserting their dominance upon the departure" of Mayor Mike Bloomberg (I). U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said the arrests show that "a show-me-the-money culture seems to pervade every level of New York government."
"The complaint described envelopes of cash trading hands in Manhattan hotel rooms and restaurants, payments of thousands of dollars to persuade Republican leaders in New York to put Senator Smith, from Queens, on the Republican ballot in November. The bribes were to be paid to obtain certificates authorizing him to run for mayor as a Republican even though he was a registered Democrat." (New York Times)
The arrests and the flurry of press coverage surrounding them hold ramifications for some mayoral contenders. For City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D), "the case dredged up reminders of a six-year-old probe into the discretionary budgets of council members that resulted in five arrests." Quinn was speaker at the time of the federal investigation into council funds, but she was never accused of any wrongdoing. But her opponents tried to use Halloran's arrest against her Tuesday. "Among the allegations against Mr. Halloran is that he tried to steer council money to a man who paid him bribes and donated to his failed 2012 congressional campaign. ... The money, Mr. Halloran allegedly told an undercover FBI agent last fall, was to come from his discretionary budget—funds that council members can appropriate to projects in their districts. It would have been disguised as a consulting contract on a senior center, the complaint alleges."
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio (D): "Certainly in the City Council this has been a problem for the last few years and it's gotten worse."
Meanwhile, Catsimatidis had to address his connection to Queens GOP vice chairman Vincent Tabone, who was also arrested Tuesday in connection with the bribery scandal. Tabone had been working for Catsimatidis' campaign as a paid consultant. Catsimatidis' campaign announced the firing of Tabone on Tuesday. Catsimatidis: "I feel betrayed like anyone would in this situation." (Wall Street Journal)
Doe Fund founder George McDonald (R) on Tuesday said that when he sought the endorsements of the five GOP chairmen last year, he was stunned by the message he received. McDonald: "There was no doubt they were looking for somebody who had a big pile of money. They all needed money, and it was more about what they needed than it was about the best interest of the Republican Party." (New York Times)
In other mayoral race news:
- In a lengthy, colorful profile in the New York Observer, Comptroller John Liu (D) took issue with the media, saying: "I'm not particularly fond of getting the shit kicked out of me by the media all the time. But that doesn't alter the reality. ... You're not supposed to fuck with the Fourth Estate." Asked when he first thought about running for mayor, Liu said: "Probably from the moment I got elected comptroller. ... I'm going to be quoted for that. … Maybe I need to hold my tongue more. I mean, I just said, 'from the moment I got elected comptroller.' How many other comptrollers or public advocates or borough presidents are going to admit that? That they're thinking about running for mayor from the second they got elected to their positions?"
- Rev. A.R. Bernard, on his interest in the mayoral race: "I'm no longer actively considering a run for mayor, however if there's some compelling reason that presents itself, I remain open to that possibility." (City and State)
- Bloomberg said the latest corruption charges signal the need for nonpartisan elections. (New York Daily News)