Mayor Bill de Blasio has cleared the largest hurdle to his reelection bid this morning, as he dodged federal and state probes into fundraising connected to flipping the State Senate to the Democrats in 2014. Acting U.S. Attorney Joon H. Kim, who replaced the recently fired Preet Bharara last Saturday, issued a statement saying that although de Blasio might not have been following the letter and spirit of the law to the fullest extent, there was not enough evidence pursue an indictment.
“We have conducted a thorough investigation into several circumstances in which Mayor de Blasio and others acting on his behalf solicited donations from individuals who sought official favors from the City, after which the Mayor made or directed inquiries to relevant City agencies on behalf of those donors,” Kim wrote.
De Blasio, who swiftly realized after his improbable election in 2013 that it’s not actually all that fun to be mayor, but much better to wield the purse strings of the state, attempted to swiftly shake up decades of inaction in Albany by funding and promoting progressive leadership across the board in the fall 2014 elections. That plan was foiled by one-time de Blasio ally Governor Andrew Cuomo, setting off a feud that has stretched well into the present (and most likely into the future, if there is one). De Blasio’s fundraising, while brazen, just doesn’t stack up with other, more prominent quid pro quos that the Southern District has pursued, like those of Cuomo’s inner circle.
Appearing on WNYC this morning, the victorious, (some might say haughty?) mayor remarked, “Now it’s time to get back to work.”
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on March 16, 2017