City hall staffers regularly coordinated with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s 2017 re-election campaign, according to emails released Thursday.
Sal Albanese, a Democrat who lost to de Blasio in 2017, said, “It’s clear the mayor used City Hall staff to bolster his campaign fundraising, including having high-level city officials hobnob with potential big donors and made attempts to hide it.”
“All of this is unethical and potentially illegal,” Albanese concluded.
Email correspondence obtained through a Freedom of Information Law request showed how common it was for the de Blasio administration to blur the line between city business and his political agenda.
“Ethics rules prohibit all city employees from using public time or resources for political activity,” according to the New York Daily News.
In December 2016, de Blasio asked his campaign and City Hall staff to coordinate a meeting with a donor and tried to include a deputy mayor in the fundraising effort.
“Steve Mostyn is in town from Dallas,” de Blasio wrote to his City Hall scheduler and deputy finance director. “Very important I see him. Pls set up.”
“Mayor wants an hour w him and wants Herminia to stop by to say hi at the front of [sic] back end,” wrote his campaign finance director, Elana Leopold, in reference to then Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services Dr. Hermania Palacio.
However, mayoral spokeswoman Freddi Goldstein claimed de Blasio did nothing wrong.
“City Hall and the campaign followed all rules and regulations. There is nothing prohibiting the teams from coordinating on scheduling,” she said.
In July, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) sent a letter to the mayor’s failed presidential campaign regarding its fundraising methods.
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.
On September 21, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY) said during an interview on Breitbart News Saturday that de Blasio’s bid for the presidency was “a disaster from the outset.”
“It was a joke from the get-go and New York City suffered as a result of it at home. There was an absence of leadership while he was in New York City, it was obviously only getting worse when he was spending so much time away,” Zeldin concluded.