Among the stacks of catalogues that fill our mailbox, I found a large card of the kind typically used in political mail that urged me to join ReclaimNewYork.org. It suggested that citizens who join this organization will have a role in how government spends our money.
If you go to the website, you will not find much information that is helpful. They have a mission statement that claims they “educate New Yorkers on issues like affordability, transparency, and education.” They “believe deeply in helping each citizen reclaim ownership in their relationship with government.” The have made municipalities and a school district on Long Island reveal their spending and budgets online, in one instance via court action. They have a staff whose careers as political operatives suggest that politics will be this organization’s main focus.
Digging, we find the chairwoman is Rebekah Mercer, the elder daughter of Robert Mercer whose hedge fund played a leading role in the funding of Republican candidates, including Donald Trump and our newly elected congressman, John Faso.
The Mercer’s own a waterfront estate on Long Island’s north shore.
Why ReclaimNY wants to educate New Yorkers is not clear, but it is clear that this ill-defined organization is trying to build a mailing list that will feed into a growing alt-conservative group run by the Mercer family that has close ties to the Trump political organization.
One of the interesting bits of info we gathered is that the Mercers and the Koch family can have different goals and may be in competition for influence in the new Republican scene. We learned that it was Mr. Mercer who was responsible or a $10 million investment in Breitbart.com, the vehicle by which Stephen Bannon gained his notoriety. Bannon is now a senior consultant and a player in the transition team. The Mercers seem to be trying to build their own political organization.