Mayoral hopeful Maya Wiley has been endorsed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and different fellow Democrats who frequently decry the facility of particular pursuits and massive cash in politics — although she has for many years been bankrolled by hedge-fund billionaire George Soros.
Soros, the 90-year-old liberal kingmaker typically criticized by Republicans and others for his outsize political affect, has ties to Wiley courting again to the Nineties, and just lately pumped $500,000 into an impartial expenditure group backing Wiley’s City Hall marketing campaign, on high of direct donations.
“If we don’t come together as a movement, we will get a New York City built by and for billionaires, and we need a city for and by working people,” stated Ocasio-Cortez, a self-described democratic socialist representing elements of Queens and the Bronx, in endorsing Wiley earlier this month. “So we will vote for Maya #1.”
Wiley, a former MSNBC contributor and authorized counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio, tweeted the quote final week in soliciting marketing campaign donations — to additional inventory a battle chest already immediately and not directly aided by Soros.
A spokesman for Soros confirmed to The Post that the deep-pocketed investor has contributed $500,000 to the impartial expenditure group 1199 for Maya, a three way partnership with 1199SEIU, an influential healthcare employees union that has endorsed Wiley.
Last week, the union announced a $1.2 million ad-buy backing Wiley, paid for by “1199 for Maya.”
As of Sunday afternoon, the lofty sums weren’t but mirrored on the net web site of the New York City Campaign Finance Board, an impartial company devoted to serving to New Yorkers observe the stream of cash in native politics.
Those figures additionally don’t embrace about $16,000 in direct contributions to Wiley’s marketing campaign by Soros, members of his household and associates by means of his Open Society Foundations, in addition to by 1199SEIU, public marketing campaign finance data present.
“There is the belief that billionaires are bad for society — except for when they’re giving to my campaign,” Doug Muzzio, a veteran political science professor at Baruch College, informed The Post of the obvious hypocrisy. “That’s the logic.”
Wiley’s ties to Soros date again to the late Nineties, when she labored for practically two years for the Open Society Foundations, according to her LinkedIn profile.
In 2002, Wiley based the Center for Social Inclusion, a company devoted to “ending racial inequities through structural reform,” as Wiley wrote on the profile.
Both that group and the Tides Foundation, a bicoastal progressive activist group for which Wiley has moreover labored, have additionally been backed partly by hefty Open Society grants, based on releases from the philanthropic group.
Meanwhile, Harlan Mandel, Wiley’s longtime associate, serves as CEO of the Media Development Investment Fund, one more group funded by Soros’ Open Society.
Ahead of the Democratic major election — which saw early voting begin Saturday — Wiley has confronted flak for a number of of her stances on public security and policing.
She has been blasted by the NYPD’s unions for a campaign ad during which she stated cops don’t suppose her and fellow black New Yorkers “deserve to breathe,” and gave a non-committal answer when requested on the controversy stage if she would take weapons away from police.
Amid a deluge of criticism, Wiley later tried to amend her reply, insisting that she didn’t intend to strip cops of their service weapons.
She has additionally been slammed as a hypocrite for Mandel’s monetary contributions in the direction of personal safety patrolling her Brooklyn neighborhood — whilst she presses to “defund the police.”
Asked by The Post in regards to the seeming contradiction between her campaign-trail disdain for billionaires and her long-running ties to — and big-bucks funding by — Soros, Wiley would solely say that she will’t management who chooses to again her.
“I can’t comment on independent expenditures because I’ve been very clear that I have no control over them,” she stated.
Despite his seemingly bottomless coffers, billionaire Soros paid no earnings tax between 2016 and 2018, based on a latest, wide-ranging investigation on tax inequality by ProPublica.
But, piggybacking off of the “Tale of Two Cities” rhetoric of her different former boss — de Blasio — Wiley has backed efforts to hike taxes on New York’s wealthiest.
Earlier this 12 months, she spoke out in help of an Albany invoice that may elevate the state earnings tax charge to 7.01 % for single earners clearing $300,000 yearly, and as excessive as 13.81 % for these making $100 million or extra.
At an SEIU1199 rally final week in Brooklyn, Wiley touted that effort when pressed by a Brookdale Hospital nurse on why she sees 40 % of her earnings go to taxes whereas billionaires pay, comparatively talking, little to nothing.
The reply left the nurse, who declined to offer her title, unimpressed.
“It was a typical politician’s response,” she stated.
Additional reporting by Aaron Feis