The campaign for New York City comptroller took an especially ugly turn yesterday when the lawyer for former New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer slammed rival candidate Scott Stringer for a 1996 vote Stringer made as a state assemblyman against the revocation of NAMBLA’s non-profit status. According to the New York Daily News, NAMBLA registered with the state under the name Zymurgy and once lawmakers learned of the group’s true identity, a bill to revoke its non-profit status was passed, but Stringer and 18 other members of the Assembly voted against it.
Stringer spokeswoman Audrey Gelman said Monday that Stringer believes “NAMBLA and groups like it are abhorrent and disgusting” — but that he “voted to protect the Constitution.” “He and 18 other progressive members of the state Legislature voted on constitutional grounds that the Legislature should not be freely and subjectively revoking the nonprofit status of groups, (believing) it would be a slippery slope that could lead to targeting of group based on their political views,” she said. Aides to Stringer, the Manhattan borough president, also pointed out that he has voted to toughen penalties for sexual crimes against children.
Martin Connor, a former Democratic state senator from Manhattan who is now Spitzer’s campaign lawyer, said he voted for the Zymurgy bill and Stringer should have, too. “It’s one thing if you’ve got an organization that’s advocating communism; they’re advocating a political view,” he said. “But NAMBLA? What if you had an organization advocating murder? Why would you give them a tax exemption? It’s beyond the pale.” The Spitzer campaign on Monday tried to turn the tables on Stringer, who has repeatedly bashed Spitzer for having to resign as governor because of a prostitution scandal.
Then Gov. George Pataki had attempted to yank the non-profit status of Zymurgy by direct order, but that action was blocked by a court, prompting the legislation which Pataki then signed.