By: Rachel Holliday Smith – TheCity.com
In the final stretch of the race for Manhattan district attorney, candidate Tali Farhadian Weinstein is making a big push to spend her way to the top.
Farhadian Weinstein used her considerable personal wealth to give a cash infusion of $8.2 million to her campaign between May 17 and June 7, just ahead of the June 22 primary, according to state financial records that track campaign cash flows.
Within that time, the former Brooklyn prosecutor — who is married to hedge fund manager Boaz Weinstein — spent $6.3 million on her run, much of it on television ads and mountains of campaign mail.
By comparison, the candidate with the second-most cash in the race — former New York State Chief Deputy Attorney General Alvin Bragg — spent $560,000 during the same time period and has $872,000 cash on hand, records show.
“It is obscene and it is absurd,” Hank Sheinkopf, a longtime New York political consultant unaffiliated with any of the Manhattan candidates said of Farhadian Weinstein’s spending.
Rarely, if ever, has New York seen this much money infused into a district attorney race, he said. But it’s all legal: the DA position is a state office and New York’s election rules do not limit funds spent on a campaign by a candidate or their spouse.
“In the prosecutors’ office you would hope that the political machine, nor the money machine, should be controlling the outcomes,” Sheinkopf said. “Bob Morgenthau is probably rolling over in his grave,” he added, referring to the late Manhattan prosecutor who held the office for 34 years.
‘Taking No Risks’
Farhadian Weinstein’s money is buying a lot of exposure for the first-time candidate, who only became a Democrat in 2017 and didn’t vote in local elections until a few years ago.
Public records from the Federal Communications Commission indicate she spent more money on local television advertising by far compared to the seven other Democrats vying to replace outgoing DA Cyrus Vance.
Her campaign has spent at least $2 million on ad spots on local television channels this year, including FOX 5, PIX 11, Univision 41, Telemundo 47 and the local network affiliates WNBC, WABC and WCBS.
Former U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder, one of her big-name endorsers, has voiced at least two of those commercials, including one that begins with the tale of Farhadian Weinstein’s arrival in America at age 4 from Iran and ends with her speaking to voters about her “life in public service” while walking in a park.
The runner up in TV spending is Lucy Lang, a former Manhattan prosecutor, who made $195,000 in ad buys from the same stations this year, FCC records show.