Mayor Bill de Blasio responds to 'outrageous' allegations of illegal fundraising

NEW YORK (WABC) -- New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Monday addressed allegations of campaign corruption that have rocked his administration in recent days, with the mayor and his campaign finance lawyer insisting nothing was done wrong.

"It's outrageous, and I don't know what's motivating it," he said.

After meeting with homeowners in Bay Ridge, de Blasio assured reporters there is no merit to the claims laid out in a scathing letter from the state's Board of Elections that accused the campaign of "willful and flagrant" violations of election law in trying to stack the statehouse with legislators who would support the mayor's agenda.

"You know my predecessor and so many other people live by those exact same standards," de Blasio said. "I think it speaks for itself."

The alleged scheme involved political contributions to three state senate candidates from the Hudson Valley -- Justin Wagner, Terry Gipson and Cecilia Tkaczyk. According to state law, a candidate can receive just over $10,000 from an individual donor. But that same donor can contribute 10 times that to the candidate's political party.

So the report claims the de Blasio administration solicited donors to contribute the max to the Ulster and Putnam county Democratic committees, which then funneled hundreds of thousands to those three candidates.

"The evidence demonstrates that the de Blasio team coordinated its fundraising activities with and intentionally solicited contributions for these candidates to evade contribution limits and to disguise the true names of the contributors," the board's enforcement council wrote. "Conduct which may violate election law."

All three candidates wound up losing their elections anyway, but the letter, written in January but leaked Friday, called on Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance to investigate de Blasio. And Vance confirmed he's been doing just that, for months.

"I can say we obviously received the letter," he said. "The matter is under investigation, and that's all I can say at this point."

A lawyer for the mayor's campaign maintains no laws were ever broken, calling the incident "politically motivated" and firing back at the allegations in the eight-page memo obtained by the Daily News.

"There is nothing novel about the campaign to elect Democratic Party candidates to elect Democratic candidates to the State Senate, other than your attempt to selectively criminalize it," he said. "And the leak is a highly prejudicial and perhaps politically motivated act."
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