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October 27, 2009 @ 7:00 pm

Times: Newark Mayor Backed Bloomberg, Then Got Funds

Via The New York Times:

Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark has been one of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s most vocal supporters this campaign season, stumping with him on at least four occasions, including a whirlwind tour of African-American churches in Queens on Sunday.

Perhaps Mr. Booker was trying to show some gratitude.

On April 17, Mr. Booker, a Democrat, crossed party and state lines by endorsing Mr. Bloomberg, an independent running as a Republican, in Harlem. About a month later, Mr. Bloomberg’s longtime accountant contributed $26,000 — the maximum allowable — to Mr. Booker’s re-election committee next year, according to campaign finance records.

Technically, the contribution to Mr. Booker’s 10-member slate, which includes 9 Municipal Council candidates, was made by Martin J. Geller, Mr. Bloomberg’s accountant. But Mr. Geller has long had a habit of contributing money to candidates or committees that the mayor supports, with $100,000 in 2007 to Senate Republicans in Albany being one notable example.

The contribution is only the second one that Mr. Geller has made anyone in New Jersey politics. In 2005, he gave $2,000 to the campaign efforts of the Assembly Republicans in Trenton. At that time, Mr. Bloomberg was still registered as a Republican.

When asked about whether there was a quid pro quo, Howard Wolfson, the Bloomberg campaign’s chief media strategist, said: “As Mayor Booker made clear this past Sunday, he and Mayor Bloomberg formed a friendship three years ago when he was first elected to office, and have worked together on a number of issues since, including gun violence and education reform. They form a mutual admiration society, and so it’s not surprising that the two mayors would be supporting one another.”

A spokeswoman for Mr. Booker, Desiree Peterkin Bell, added that several members of Mr. Booker’s staff have worked in the Bloomberg administration.

“Since 2006, both men have publicly praised and respected each other’s leadership — they have and both will continue to be supportive of each other in the future,” she said in a statement.

Mr. Booker is hardly the only Democratic elected official who has not supported William C. Thompson Jr., Mr. Bloomberg’s Democratic opponent. But he has been one of Mr. Bloomberg’s most avid supporters, regardless of party affiliation, and has campaigned almost as much in New York recently for Mr. Bloomberg as he has in New Jersey on behalf of Gov. Jon S. Corzine, a Democrat.

Never was Mr. Booker more effusive, perhaps, than on Sunday when he traveled with Mr. Bloomberg to African-American churches in Queens, presumably to put some distance between some controversial remarks that former Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani had made the week before about crime when he was campaigning with Mr. Bloomberg.

“My big-brother mayor,” Mr. Booker said in describing Mr. Bloomberg, during a rousing address at Rev. Floyd H. Flake’s Greater Allen A.M.E. Cathedral in Jamaica, Queens.

When told of the contribution, Anne Fenton, a spokeswoman for Mr. Thompson, said, “Today’s revelation that Mike Bloomberg has paid for the endorsement of Newark Mayor Cory Booker is scandalous. It proves Bloomberg is willing to do anything to win this election and calls into question many of the supporters who have stood beside him.”

There are no other records, at least so far, showing that other politicians who have endorsed Mr. Bloomberg have also received contributions in recent months. But campaign finance experts caution that a full accounting won’t be available until after the election.

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