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What Kind of Independence Drives the Independence Party of New York?

These last few days I’ve been making preparations to review a book written by a longtime leader of the Independence Party of New York. I’ve heard some funny things about the Independence Party of New York, mostly alleging some form of “cultish” behavior. I don’t like “cult” accusations very much, considering that most of the people tossing out “cult” accusations turn out to have committed memberships of their own, albeit to more socially accepted organizations.

So let’s set aside the “cultish” comments and ask a more substantive question: is the Independence Party actually independent?

A dive into data from the New York State Board of Elections reveals the following information:

Contributions to the Independence Party of NY Campaign Account, 2008-2011:

Real Estate Corporations: $497,500.00
NYS Senate Republican Campaign Committee: $380,780.00
Individuals: $96,000.00
Neighborhood Preservation (a Landlord PAC): $46,000.00
Cleaning Service Co.: $25,000.00
Eastern Pork Products: $2,500.00
Eastside Independence Party Club: $100.00

Contributions to NYS Independence Party Chairman’s Club, 2011:

Republican Political Committees: $10,750.00
Democratic Political Committees: $4,000.00
Independence Party Chairmans Club: $17,000.00
Real Estate Board PAC: $5,000.00

Contributions to the New York County Independence Committee from 2009 to 2011: $1,072,594.93
Percent of these contributions coming from just 5 people: 57.1%
These five are:
Michael Bloomberg: $400,000.00
John Singer: $77,000.00
Gillian Teichert: $50,800.00
Richard Sokolow: $68,000.00
Guy McCarter: $16,775.00

These patterns are not what comes to my mind when I think of the word “independent.”

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