PRIVATE CASH, PUBLIC BOOKS

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FYI: One day after the Conflicts of Interest Board announced new rules giving city officials the green light to raise private cash to fund their agencies, Mayor Bloomberg and Council Speaker Gifford Miller announced this morning a massive three-year, $36 million private fundraising campaign for the city’s public libraries. Citing the budget crisis as the need for this “emergency campaign,” Bloomberg and Miller hailed initial donations of $4.5 million from the Carnegie Corporation and $1.5 million from the Starr Foundation. Yesterday, the Conflicts of Interest Board said such private fundraising is fine as long as donors giving more than $5,000 over a six-month period report it (the board will make a donor list public) and donors have no business with the agency soliciting funds. Check out Alyssa Katz’s essay in the City Limits archive pointing out the ethical complications that can arise when the city turns to private funding sources for public projects. [5/8/03]