De Blasio Back To Work Amid Campaign Finance Probes – CBS Local
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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Mayor Bill de Blasio was back to work Thursday, less than 24 hours after his administration confirmed aides were subpoenaed amid investigations into his campaign fundraising operation.
De Blasio walked into City Hall trying to project an air of normalcy, despite subpoenas handed down to members of his inner circle, CBS2’s Andrea Grymes reported.
On Wednesday, City Hall received subpoenas from the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan and from the Manhattan district attorney’s office, mayoral counsel Maya Wiley said.
A statement issued by Wiley said de Blasio “has not been personally served” and said “we are fully cooperating with the investigation.”
De Blasio, a Democrat, has not been accused of any wrongdoing and has said he and his team did not violate any campaign finance laws.
“There is an investigation going on, we’re going to fully cooperate with that investigation, we look forward to the speedy conclusion of it, but we’ll fully cooperate,” de Blasio said. “But since there is an investigation, I can’t go into any details. That’s an ongoing process.”
CBS2 has learned those who were subpoenaed include Emma Wolfe, a top political adviser and the city’s director of intergovernmental affairs, top fundraiser Ross Offinger and the consulting firm Berlin Rosen, which works on the mayor’s political campaigns.
The assistant U.S. attorney who signed the subpoenas helped convict former New York State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos.
“This is very troubling for Mayor de Blasio and his team,” Dick Dadey of the good government group Citizens Union told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall.
The mayor said Monday that he and his aides have “unequivocally” abided by all campaign finance laws.
“We welcome a full airing of the facts,” he said. “I want all the facts out there because I’m quite convinced the facts will show that everything was done legally and appropriately.”
U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance are trying to determine whether team de Blasio violated the law by circumventing campaign finance limits and earmarking large donations for specific candidates – which is not allowed.
Probers are reportedly also looking into whether promises were made in exchange for donations, Grymes reported.
The top investigator at the state’s Board of Elections asked prosecutors in January to investigate whether the mayor’s advisers broke the law by channeling campaign contributions to Democratic state Senate candidates through a committee not subject to donation limits, so as to evade them.
De Blasio has called the Board of Elections report outrageous. Attorney Laurence Laufer, who worked for de Blasio’s 2013 campaign, said in a letter Sunday to the election board’s chief enforcement officer that the law allowed the types of donations in question.
“I am deeply troubled that your office made a criminal referral that was based on a complete misreading and utter disregard of the state’s unambiguous election laws, and that your blatantly political document was leaked to the press,” he wrote.
Meanwhile, an animal welfare group that has lobbied de Blasio to ban carriage horses from city streets said last week that it had received a subpoena from federal prosecutors that sought documents relating to its fundraising efforts for a nonprofit group that was created to advance the mayor’s policy agenda.
“A lot of very good people are having their names dragged through the mud over these last few weeks,” de Blasio said Monday. “That’s not right. that’s not fair.”
De Blasio’s spokesperson specifically described Wolfe as a highly regarded public servant whose integrity should not be questioned.
The mayor announced in March that he was shutting down the nonprofit group, the Campaign for One New York, launched in 2014. The organization had come under fire from good-government advocates over its receipt of large donations from companies lobbying City Hall, including more than $1 million from real estate developers, some trying to influence the administration’s zoning and housing policies.
Prosecutors also are looking into the fundraising activities of businessmen with ties to the mayor. Other investigations concern some high-ranking New York Police Department officials and the union representing city jail guards
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De Blasio Back To Work Amid Campaign Finance Probes – CBS Local}