But of course, that's just not so. As a billionaire with deep pockets, Bloomberg uses his money to reward friends and allies and punish enemies and those who just don't want to go along with his agenda.
Political Wire notes that the curtain was drawn back upon that drama a bit today:
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg "secretly testified last year before the grand jury that indicted a political operative on charges of stealing $1.1 million from the billionaire mayor's personal fortune," the Wall Street Journal reports.
"The high-profile case has lifted a veil on the most expensive political campaign in city history and serves as something of an embarrassment for Mr. Bloomberg, whom prosecutors contend was duped by Mr. Haggerty into spending money on a sham ballot-security and poll-watching operation. Mr. Haggerty spent much of the money to buy a home, prosecutors alleged."
The New York Times notes the case "is already providing an unusual and, for Mr. Bloomberg, unwelcome glimpse into the casual intermingling of money, politics and government staff that prevailed in his $110 million re-election bid two years ago.."
The NY Times takes a closer look at the case:
It appeared to be a run-of-the-mill campaign e-mail: in October 2009, a Republican political consultant wrote to Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s two top aides, Kevin Sheekey and Patricia E. Harris, about Election Day operations.
But one phrase in the letter, disclosed on Tuesday, stands out.
“Kevin,” wrote the consultant, John F. Haggerty Jr., “you said that you also wanted to ‘wash in’ a $100K contribution on top of the cost of the operation.”
As directed, aides to Mr. Bloomberg soon wired over $1.2 million — $1.1 million to cover the cost of services overseen by Mr. Haggerty, plus the extra $100,000 that he suggested be “washed in.”
Mr. Haggerty now stands accused of stealing most of that money from the mayor.
The case, which could drag on for much of the next year, has riveted New York City’s political world: scandal, or even the faintest whiff of it, is rare in the Bloomberg universe.
Now it has wafted into his final campaign for City Hall — and forced Mr. Bloomberg to become personally involved. On Tuesday, during a hearing in State Supreme Court in Manhattan, prosecutors revealed that the mayor had provided secret grand jury testimony in the case, though they refused to say precisely when, or what he said.
The case stems from Mr. Haggerty’s work in the fall of 2009, when he was enlisted to develop a “ballot security” system for Mr. Bloomberg on Election Day, a loose term that refers to stationing volunteers, lawyers and inspectors at polling sites to discourage voter fraud.
Mr. Haggerty created a company, called Special Election Operations; drew up a budget; and, according to his lawyers, did exactly what he had promised to do. Rather than put Mr. Haggerty on his campaign payroll, the mayor paid him through a large donation to the New York State Independence Party, which then paid Mr. Haggerty.
The district attorney, however, alleges that Mr. Haggerty actually set up a sham operation, carried out little of the work and used the money to buy a house in Forest Hills Gardens, Queens.
During the hearing, an assistant district attorney, Eric Seidel, repeatedly called Mr. Haggerty a “liar” who “took a circuitous, devious route to obtain the money” from Mr. Bloomberg.
“This is a story of greed, a story of lies, a story of arrogance,” Mr. Seidel said.
Much remains mysterious about Mr. Haggerty’s conduct. But the e-mails that were revealed on Tuesday raised a host of questions:
Why would the mayor choose to hire Mr. Haggerty through a state political party, rather than directly?
Why was Mr. Sheekey, a deputy mayor who never formally joined the campaign as an employee, so intimately involved in the campaign’s finances?
And why did the Bloomberg campaign need to spend more than $1 million on ballot security in the first place?
Howard Wolfson, the director of communications for Mr. Bloomberg’s re-election campaign, and now a deputy mayor, said that political parties had a long tradition of providing ballot security — and did so for the mayor in his 2001 and 2005 campaigns.
He said Mr. Sheekey, who previously oversaw Mr. Bloomberg’s mayoral runs, chose to volunteer in 2009. As for the steep price of Mr. Haggerty’s work, Mr. Wolfson said: “Election Day operations are vital in every campaign.”
Pressed about the “washed in” language in the e-mail, Mr. Wolfson said those were Mr. Haggerty’s words, not Mr. Sheekey’s. However, a lawyer for Mr. Haggerty, Dennis C. Vacco, said it was clear from the e-mail that the idea for “washing in” the $100,000 donation came from Mr. Sheekey. “It was Kevin’s suggestion,” he said. Mr. Sheekey did not respond to a message.
The mayor’s political contribution to the Independence Party has become a flash point in the case, with lawyers for Mr. Haggerty arguing that once he donated the money, he ceded control over its use. Aides to the mayor insist that the donation was handled correctly.
Throughout the proceeding, lawyers on both sides seemed to telegraph their strategy for the case. Lawyers for Mr. Haggerty argued that the work Mr. Bloomberg sought was completed, even if he might have overpaid for those services.
“There is no crime in coming in under budget,” said Raymond R. Castello, a lawyer for Mr. Haggerty.
As it turned out, there is no evidence that Mr. Bloomberg ever asked Mr. Haggerty for any of his money back.
Mr. Seidel, from the district attorney’s office, disclosed e-mails that he said showed false attempts by Mr. Haggerty to cover his tracks, especially once people inside and outside the campaign started to inquire about his spending.
At one point, shortly before he was charged, Mr. Haggerty even produced several fraudulent check stubs to suggest he had paid poll workers, Mr. Seidel said.
“He got caught,” Mr. Seidel said. “And it’s as if he was squirming around.”
Wow - you know who's squirming too?
Note that he made sure he testified IN SECRET.
Then he has his minions lay down a bunch of bull for the Times story even as the question remains - what EXACTLY was Bloomberg doing "washing in" money through the Independence Party.
The aide who used that phrase - Kevin Sheekey - is probably the closest Bloomberg advisor there is.
Though he now works for Bloomberg LP, he is the guy who is spearheading the mayor's presidential run in 2012.
You can be pretty sure that if Sheekey was the guy looking to "wash in" money (aka "launder"), then Bloomberg would know about it too.
Which again brings us back to the question - what was the mayor doing throwing that $1.1 million around through a round about way?
Why didn't he want that money back if it wasn't used the way it was supposed to be used?
And, more importantly, who else did the mayor use to "wash in" campaign cash in 2009?