Bay Ridge

Mayor calls campaign finance cheating reports ‘outrageous’

April 26, 2016 By Paula Katinas Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Mayor Bill de Blasio (center) came to Bay Ridge Monday to talk about reducing water bills, but faced questions on campaign finance controversies. Photo by Demetrius Freeman/Mayoral Photography Office
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In his strongest language yet, Mayor Bill de Blasio defended himself against the whirlwind of controversy that has engulfed his administration, telling reporters at an event in Bay Ridge on Monday that reports of possible illegal campaign fundraising activities on his part are “outrageous.”

The mayor, who held a press conference outside a private house at 103 79th St. to announce a $183 credit that 664,000 New York City homeowners will find on their water bills this summer, answered questions on the escalating reports that he and some of his aides may have flouted campaign finance laws to funnel money to Democratic candidates running for seats in the state Senate in 2014.

The controversy centers on whether de Blasio and his aides circumvented campaign donation limits in raising money for Democratic candidates. In 2014, de Blasio was eager to help the Democrats try to wrest control of the state Senate from Republicans, according to multiple news reports.

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Risa Sugarman, the chief enforcement officer for the New York State Board of Elections, sent a memo to the board back in January recommending that Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. investigate the situation, according to a report in the New York Post. The Post obtained a copy of the Sugarman memo.

“I have determined that reasonable cause exists to believe a violation warranting criminal prosecution has taken place,” the Post quotes Sugarman as writing in her memo.

On Jan. 11, the board did send a recommendation to Vance that he launch a probe.

But on Monday, de Blasio dismissed reports of any wrongdoing.

“Everything I have done has been thoroughly vetted by lawyers,” de Blasio told reporters.

When asked by a reporter if he could state for the record that he has never tried to flout campaign finance laws, the mayor replied “I can unequivocally say that.”

The mayor also hinted that the rumors he tried to circumvent campaign finance laws were politically motivated, although he didn’t say who he thought was behind the effort to smear him.

“It’s important that the facts be found in this case. I want all the facts out there. People’s names have been dragged through the mud,” de Blasio said.

On Sunday, the New York Daily News reported that Laurence Laufer, a lawyer who served as general counsel on de Blasio’s 2013 mayoral campaign, sent a letter Sugarman angrily refuting her allegations and insisting that the groups raising funds for Democratic state Senate candidates in 2014 followed the letter of the law.


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