The Federal Election Commission (FEC) sent a letter this week to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s failed presidential campaign over its fundraising methods, according to a report.
In a July public filing, the de Blasio camp noted a $52,852 debt owed to the NY Fairness PAC, a state political action committee controlled by the mayor. The campaign had argued that this was a permissible loan from one organization to another. But the FEC’s senior campaign finance analyst, Robin Kelly, wrote this week that the practice is not allowed by campaign finance rules.
Such transfers are capped at $5,000 per election cycle, Kelly’s letter said, meaning the campaign took more than ten times the permissible amount from the state PAC and spent it on travel and advertising. Kelly mandated that the campaign refile an amended report by late October that corrects the transfer, and noted that an audit of the campaign may follow.
The Campaign Legal Center filed a complaint with the FEC last month, accusing the de Blasio campaign of shoddy campaign finance practices. According to the pro-regulation advocacy group, donors that dolled out the max amount to the New York City mayor’s White House bid were also making a contribution to his PACs and the cash was then funneled into his 2020 campaign.
“[The campaign] appears to have concocted a shell game to arrange for a small number of wealthy donors to support de Blasio’s presidential run above and beyond legal contribution limits,” reads the CLC’s complaint.
Politico’s report comes on the same day de Blasio announced he is dropping out of the presidential race.
“I feel like I’ve contributed all I can to this primary election and it’s clearly not my time,” he told MSNBC’s Morning Joe on Friday morning.
“These last months I’ve had an extraordinary experience going all over this country and I want to tell you I actually think it’s a lot better country than what we often see portrayed,” he added.
The mayor’s bid failed to garner the polling threshold required to qualify for the third Democrat debate in September.
DeBlasio polled between zero and one percent in Democrat primary polls and only managed to win the support of a single New York Democrat out of 359 respondents, according to a recent Siena College poll.
President Donald Trump mocked de Blasio after announcing his campaign had come to an end, tweeting: “Oh no, really big political news, perhaps the biggest story in years! Part time Mayor of New York City, @BilldeBlasio, who was polling at a solid ZERO but had tremendous room for growth, has shocking dropped out of the Presidential race. NYC is devastated, he’s coming home!”