with Horse and Hound

FBI Probe Links Animal Rights Threat to NYC Horse Carriage Issue

During his mayoral campaign, Mayor Bill de Blasio pledged to remove the iconic horse-drawn carriages from the city’s streets. The FBI is currently examining that pledge as it relates to contributions to an animal rights group, NYCLASS, and threats made to de Blasio’s chief rival in that mayoral race.

 Candidate de Blasio made his pledge to ban the horse carriages in March, 2013. The Daily News has disclosed that a political consultant for NYCLASS threatened to undermine Quinn’s campaign if she didn’t back the carriage horse ban. In April, Quinn, who was leading de Blasio in the polls at the time, refused to back the ban.

That same April, two NYCLASS officials gave $200,000 to a PAC formed by their political consultant to carry out the “Anybody But Quinn” campaign. Records show that NYCLASS gave $225,000 to the anti-Quinn campaign in the months of May and June. Records also show that two of de Blasio’s top financial supporters gave $225,000 to NYCLASS. The FBI also appears interested in a $175,000 contribution to NYCLASS given by a union connected to de Blasio’s cousin, labor leader John Wilhelm.

The attacks against Quinn—fueled by large contributions made by NYCLASS to the “Anybody But Quinn” campaign—began in April. The ad blitz attacked her candidacy with TV ads, robocalls, and mailings. By late June, Quinn had fallen to third place in the Democratic primary. De Blasio won the primary and later the mayoral election.

Click for more details in Greg Smith’s New York Daily News article.

Posted April 26, 2014