NY Activists Protest Fundraiser for the “Speaker Heastie PAC,” Highlighting Role of Big Money in NY Politics and Failures of 2019 NY Budget

 April 10, 2019

WHO: Rise and Resist, with co-sponsors No IDC NY, True Blue NY, VOCAL-NY, United through Action, Empire State Indivisible, Inwood Indivisible, Indivisible Harlem, Patriotic Millionaires, Downtown Women for Change, and NY Communities for Change
WHAT: Heastie Failed Us
WHERE: Outside Terroir Restaurant, 24 Harrison St, New York, NY 10013
WHEN: Thursday, April 11, 5:45–6:45 PM
MEDIA CONTACT: Claire Ullman (Rise and Resist), 917–679–7120
FACEBOOK EVENT:https://www.facebook.com/events/861774960831186/

Rise and Resist, along with co-sponsors No IDC NY, True Blue NY, VOCAL-NY, United through Action, Empire State Indivisible, Inwood Indivisible, Indivisible Harlem, Patriotic Millionaires, NY Communities for Change and Downtown Women for Change, is protesting outside a big-ticket fundraiser for the Speaker Heastie PAC to accuse Speaker Carl Heastie and the Democrats of the NY Assembly of failing New Yorkers.

Claire Ullman of Rise and Resist explains, “Having cleaned house in the NY Senate in 2018, a vast grassroots coalition is now turning its attention to the Assembly. This protest will be the first in a series of actions taken to make the Assembly stand up for progressive goals such as good government, fair elections, campaign finance reform, and taxes that ask ultra-millionaires and absentee owners of expensive apartments to pay their share.”

Carl Heastie and a majority of the Assembly Democrats have proven themselves to be hypocrites. In 2016 Heastie was the lead sponsor on a bill to provide public financing of elections — a bill that cost him nothing because both he and his donors knew it had no chance of passing the GOP-controlled Senate. However, in 2019, with a Democratic Senate ready to pass sweeping campaign finance reforms to get big money out of politics, Heastie bowed to the pressure from his big donors and failed to include small donor matching funds (and the accompanying limits on big donations) in the budget. Heastie is getting his reward for that hypocrisy today, with big donors spending big money to dine with him at Terroir.

Heastie and the Democrats in the Assembly also backed down on finding ambitious new sources of revenue for our starving public schools because of pressure from REBNY (the Real Estate Board of New York), one of the biggest and most problematic donors to NY legislators. A pied-a-terre tax would have solved many problems at once, but it was opposed by REBNY so the Assembly wouldn’t implement it.

“After a record of backing public financing of elections when the Senate was controlled by the GOP, Heastie suddenly doesn’t support fair elections now that the Senate is blue, has punted public financing into a ‘commission,’ and has immediately turned around and is holding a high dollar fundraiser for his PAC. Now that we got rid of the IDC, we see clearly that the obstructionist body of the NY legislature is the Assembly,” says Harris Doran of No IDC NY.

Rebecca Saletan of Indivisible Harlem says of Heastie, “Derailing support for public campaign financing — when 80% of New Yorkers want it — was bad enough. Flaunting his dependence on, and allegiance to, big-money donors and special interests is not a good look, or good public service. We’re going to make sure it’s not a good career move either.”

Rallying with the themes of “Heastie Failed Us,” “The NYS Assembly Failed Us,” and “Get Big Money Out of Politics,” a loud and determined group of activists is making sure that Heastie and his pals know how angry we are.