Democratic mayoral hopeful Christine Quinn is calling on her fellow candidates to "pledge to condemn and reject all independent expenditures" in the race to lead City Hall.
Quinn, the City Council speaker, said in a letter to nine other candidates that a television ad attacking her was "an all-out effort to undermine New York City’s public campaign finance system, the most progressive system in the county."
Quinn repeated her position against independent expendiatures during a press conference at City Hall today. She also defended her support of a bill the Council passed in March that excluded union communications from being considered independent expeneditures. The law drew criticism from the city's Campaign Finance Board when the bill was first floated in late 2012.
"What we did was just relation to member to member communications," she said, and defended the bill by arguing it received support from the city's leading good government groups. She said the TV spot against her was different because it was created for a general public and its backers refuse to disclose who is paying for it.
The ad in question was released yesterday and accuses her of back-room deals and putting politics before people. It was the first television advertisement to be released in this year's mayoral race.
A group of left-leaning labor groups and Democratic activists working under the moniker New York City Is Not For Sale 2013 is funding the over $1 million campaign against Quinn. The group says it has no connection to any candidate.
In the letter she sent today, Quinn points out that two of her fellow Democratic candidates — former Comptroller Bill Thompson and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio — had condemned independent expenditures in the past.
Quinn has asked TimeWarner Cable to take down the ad.
NBC-TV spoke with some of the other mayoral candidates to get their thoughts on the advertisement.
"I think it's a bit much, and very much over the top," Thompson said. "I think it's wrong."
Independence Party candidate Adolfo Carrion said he understood Quinn's "outrage."
"She's going to have to fight back and explain how she's managed the affairs of the City Council," he said.
De Blasio said he was not surprised Quinn is "in denial about how upset people are at the positions she has taken."
Republican John Catsimatidis said Quinn had a right to fight the ad in court if any facts were wrong. But, he said, "We do have freedom of speech in our country."
Republican Candidate George McDonald, who has had his own problems with the campaign financing system, has released a statement about the Quinn attack ad. Writing to his opponent, he writes: "It’s a sad statement that having rigged the rules in your favor, you now want to only abide by those rules that support your candidacy."