The Daily News is reporting, April 22, 2016
EXCLUSIVE: NYCLASS hit with subpoena in mayor fund-raising probe
“In 2014, the Daily News reported the FBI was looking at NYCLASS donations to the mayor, who championed the group’s cause during his run for City Hall. At the time, the FBI was examining how two de Blasio supporters appeared to have used NYCLASS to secretly attack his then-chief rival, Christine Quinn.
In May and June 2013, a union run by de Blasio’s cousin, John Wilhelm, and a top de Blasio donor, attorney Jay Eisenhoffer, wrote two checks totaling $225,000 to NYCLASS.
Within days, NYCLASS wrote duplicate checks to New York City Not for Sale, a rabidly anti-Quinn group. At the time, the anti-Quinn group had to disclose its contributions, but NYCLASS didn’t. The two donations weren’t revealed until days after de Blasio won the primary.”
“These contributions well exceed the limitations on individual donations, which are restricted to $4,950 per election. Owners of entities doing business with the city can’t give more than $400, and lobbyists aren’t allowed to give at all.
But a review by The News found the mayor, a one-time political operative, has repeatedly found a myriad of legal, but controversial, ways to obtain huge checks from deep-pocket donors with interests before City Hall.
Key tools in the de Blasio woodshed include raising unrestricted donations via so-called “independent spending” groups and relying on donors who bundle multiple individual checks.
Records show de Blasio has been a consistent beneficiary of bundling — for example, pocketing $1.4 million this way in 2013 and $467,370 more for his reelection bid through mid-January.
Both tactics are legal, but candidates are strictly barred from coordinating with independent spenders or promising contributors anything in return for their checks.
Sources familiar with the campaign finance aspect of the probe say the city Department of Investigation is inquiring, in addition to the feds and the DA. All three offices declined comment.
A key focus is the Campaign for One New York, set up by de Blasio a month before he took office. Since he’s become mayor, the group has collected $4 million to support his pet causes such as universal pre-K and affordable housing.
Much of that has come from big developers and lobbyists writing big checks at the same time they’re seeking zoning changes or tax breaks.”
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