New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is a major Hillary Clinton supporter.
He managed her 2000 campaign for U.S. Senate before being elected Mayor of New York.
But now he’s found himself in hot water as a criminal investigation is encircling his administration.
State and federal grand juries have been seated to dig into fundraising violations and corruption charges surrounding the de Blasio administrations.
The state grand jury is digging into fundraising tactics by the Mayor and his aides.
They are accused of funneling campaign contributions to Democratic State Senate candidates after directing donors to send the money to upstate New York Democratic committees.
New York state law prevents a state party committee from donating to specific candidates – which can be a way to end run New York’s individual contribution limit.
The New York Post reports:
“State election law attempts to stop cash from a party committee being funneled to a specific candidate. That maneuver can be used to circumvent limits on individual contributions.
The mayor’s aides allegedly advised unions and wealthy supporters to write large checks to the Ulster and Putnam County Democratic state Senate campaign committees. The committees, in turn, funneled hundreds of thousands of dollars to the campaigns of three Democrats in tight races.
The state investigation revolves around whether de Blasio fundraising for the 2014 state Senate elections violated state election laws.”
The federal grand jury is examining if the Mayor and his administration helped out donors who made contributions to his 2013 mayoral campaign and his now defunct nonprofit.
The New York Times reports:
“The federal investigation has examined whether Mr. de Blasio or his aides took beneficial action on behalf of donors in exchange for contributions they had made to his 2013 mayoral campaign, his political nonprofit or both in roughly a half-dozen instances, according to people with knowledge of that inquiry.
Several of the witnesses to testify before the federal grand jury were current or former city officials who were knowledgeable about one of those matters, in which Harendra Singh, the owner of a popular restaurant and wedding venue in Long Island City, Queens, was negotiating a new lease with the city, several of the people said. One such witness was Stacey Cumberbatch, former commissioner of the Department of Citywide Administrative Services, an agency that manages city franchises and negotiates leases.”
As of yet, there is no indication de Blasio himself is a target of the investigation.
But that could change.
Prosecutors often times zero in on aides and lower level figures to force them to cut deals where they provide evidence against the higher-ups.
The Times also reports:
“Because federal and state grand jury proceedings are conducted in secret, few details were available about the witnesses who have appeared so far, the substance of their testimony or the nature of any other evidence that may have been presented to the panels.
But the fact that prosecutors have begun presenting evidence to the grand juries suggests the unrelated inquiries are probably moving into their final stages, and could wrap up in a matter of weeks.
The identities of the small number of witnesses who have appeared — some in recent days — and interviews with people with knowledge of the matter provides some sense of what federal and state prosecutors are focusing on in the grand jury presentations.”