WikiLeaks e-mail shows Christine Quinn checked with Clinton Campaign prior to interview about marriage equality

Former New York City Council Speaker  Christine Quinn  (D-Cheslea), exiting a fundraiser for her failed 2013 campaign for New York City mayor. Source : Louis Flores/Progress Queens

Former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Cheslea), exiting a fundraiser for her failed 2013 campaign for New York City mayor. Source : Louis Flores/Progress Queens


After a reporter for POLITICO contacted former New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn (D-Chelsea) in 2015 for an interview about former First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton's record on a key LGBT civil rights issue, marriage equality, former Speaker Quinn contacted a spokesperson for former First Lady Clinton's presidential campaign -- both before and after the interview took place.

The revelation about the briefings former Speaker Quinn provided to the Clinton campaign was made public by the publication by WikiLeaks of an e-mail exchange that included the interview request. That e-mail exchange was published as part of a series of documents related to Clinton campaign chair, John Podesta.

The interview was requested by Annie Karni, a political reporter, and the subject of the interview was expected to include discussions of former First Lady Clinton's "new stated position on gay marriage" and the Clintons' "long, complicated relationship with the issue."

As reported by Progress Queens, former First Lady Clinton has engaged in historical revisionism to disguise her past support for the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act, which was signed into law by her husband, former President Bill Clinton. The Defense of Marriage Act only recognised marriages between a man and a woman before the law was overturned by a ruling issued by the U.S. Supreme Court. The Clinton record on LGBT civil rights also includes the roll-out of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," a discriminatory military policy that would only accept LGBT servicemembers if they lived in the closet.

For much of this year, former Speaker Quinn has served as a surrogate for the Clinton campaign on the CNN cable news channel. But, in 2015, at the time the interview was requested, former Speaker Quinn was presumably contacted as a self-proclaimed leader of the LGBT community in New York City, one who was supposedly autonomous of the Clinton campaign. Former Speaker Quinn is an out lesbian.

The e-mail exchange between the reporter and former Speaker Quinn took place on 16 April 2015, four days after Mrs. Clinton had announced the start of her 2016 presidential campaign. When former Speaker Quinn agreed to the interview, she copied Mike Morey, a campaign consultant with the firm, SKDKnickerbocker, and he, in turn, forwarded the e-mail exchange to Clinton campaign officials. SKDKnickerbocker served as campaign consultants to former Speaker Quinn's failed 2013 New York City mayoral campaign.

A discussion took place between Clinton campaign officials about who would best represent former First Lady Clinton's stance on marriage equality, and the officials identified Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, an LGBT group that automatically supports Democrats. According to the e-mail, Mr. Griffin would be made to contact Ms. Karni, the reporter. The e-mail exchange release by WikiLeaks ended after a spokesperson for the Clinton campaign, Adrienne Elrod, confirmed that, "Christine Quinn had long convo w/ Annie Karni. Christine and I talked before, and she called me after to give me the rundown. I think her validation will help tremendously."

The POLITICO article about former First Lady Clinton's shifting positions on marriage equality was delayed by over two months before it was ultimately published to coïncide with the 2015 Heritage of Pride parade in New York City. By that time, the focus of the article had been changed to the LGBT community's alleged enthusiasm for the Clinton campaign, despite former First Lady Clinton's record on marriage equality. In her article, Ms. Karni noted that former First Lady Clinton did not march in that year's parade.

"There’s no question that Hillary has evolved on the issue of marriage and recognition of LGBT families," former Speaker Quinn was quoted as saying, in part, in the article. Former Speaker Quinn appeared to portray former First Lady Clinton as not alone in her shifting stance on marriage equality by adding, in part, that . . . "[Y]ou can say that about almost every progressive national leader."

It is not known how POLITICO will reveal the conflict of interest in its online article about former Speaker Quinn's apparent communication with the Clinton campaign before and after the interview. Advance questions and a request for an interview sent to Ms. Karni by e-mail were not answered.

For her part, former Speaker Quinn did not answer advance questions or an interview request sent to her by e-mail, either.