New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's re-election campaign is charging supporters up to $25,000 to attend his birthday fundraiser.
On May 9, de Blasio 2017 is hosting a "birthday celebration" for the mayor at Manhattan venue Le Poisson Rouge. General admission to the event, first reported by Page Six, costs $100. Attendees are charged between $10,000 and $25,000 to be featured as a host and chair respectively. The event is set to include a reception for people who donate $1,000 or more.
In other words, only people with the means to donate at least $1,000 will be granted access to the reception for a birthday party celebrating one of the country's most vocal critics of income inequality. Charging $100 for entry to the event itself is more than enough to keep the event out of reach for struggling New Yorkers.
An email announcing the event apparently signed by de Blasio 2017 staffers Ross Offinger and Elana Leopold was posted to a New York real estate blog. "We are asking you to commit to hosting the event," it read. "Hosts are asked to bring 10 people to the event and raise $10,000. Please let us know if you will be joining and whether we should add your name to the invitation. There will be a special chair and host reception for people who serve on the host committee and their guests who give $1,000 or more."
Events like these ensure close access is granted only to people with the means to dish out contributions worth thousands of dollars, including celebrities like Cynthia Nixon to Alan Cumming, who are both listed as members of the host committee.
For a politician who made condemnations of income inequality a hallmark of his campaign, these events are hypocritical. If de Blasio hopes to convince voters that he's listening to the voices of New York City's working class, not its elites, he might want to reconsider hosting parties that provide access to his wealthiest constituents only.
In launching his bid for the mayor's office back in 2013, de Blasio said, "Let's be honest about where we are today. This is a place that in too many ways has become a tale of two cities, a place where City Hall has too often catered to the interests of the elite rather than the needs of everyday New Yorkers."
After more than three years as mayor, which city does de Blasio live in?
Emily Jashinsky is a commentary writer for the Washington Examiner.