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Campaign Finance Board dismisses complaint against mayor, but says fundraising raises issues

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Dave Evans reports on the Campaign Finance Board's review of Mayor de Blasio's fundraising operation.

The way New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ran his fundraising operation, the focus of state and federal investigations, is now under scrutiny from the Campaign Finance Board.

The aim is to avoid some of the perceived pitfalls, legally and ethically, that are now plaguing the de Blasio Administration in the next election.

Mayor de Blasio launched his non-profit, The Campaign for One New York, to champion causes like universal pre-K for every four-year-old in the city.

But the Campaign Finance Board is looking at whether de Blasio broke spending rules to help his re-election campaign next year.
One good government group has charged the mayor campaigned on a promise to help the little guy, but has forgotten much of that.

"It's a contradiction I wish the mayor would recognize," said Susan Lerner of Common Cause. "If you're going to be champion of the little guy and run as he did, to his credit, with the largest proportion of small dollar contributions of any of the candidates then stick with that, stick with the people."

On Wednesday the board sided with the mayor and dismissed the complaint, but it did not give the mayor a 'free pass' at all.

"The fundraising conducted by the Campaign for One New York plainly raises policy and perception issues," said board chair Rose Gill Hearn.

The board was clearly troubled by the mayor, saying "it will not allow candidates in the future to sidestep contributions and expenditure limits."

It also released a list of contributors to the mayor's non-profit.
--The teacher's union: $350,000.
--Joseph Dussich, who a city contract for rat-proof trash bags: $100,000
--Developer Alexander Levin: $100,00

State and federal investigators are trying to determine whether the mayor and his team broke any law, but regardless of that, good government groups say the appearance is unseemly, unethical.

"Don't even give the appearance that you're selling out to large unions, large real estate developers that are cutting you $250,000, $350,00 checks. It doesn't sit right," said Lerner.

A spokesman for the mayor said "We are pleased with today's decision", that his non-profit never engaged in any election campaign activity, and it was formed simply to advocate for progressive issues.

But one de Blasio critic said Wednesday the mayor simply found a loophole to further his personal and political agenda.

Reigning in this type of spending is now up to the City Council and the mayor.

Related Topics:
politicsbill de blasiopoliticscampaignfinanceNew York City
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