Tags: | Bill de Blasio | campaign | contributions | loophole

Report: De Blasio Funnels Donation from Ex-Foe to Dems

By    |   Wednesday, 29 Oct 2014 07:18 PM

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took advantage of a big loophole in state campaign finance laws to steer a $50,000 contribution from former Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis to two state Democratic candidates.

The donation was made to the Putnam County Democratic Committee on Oct. 14, according to campaign finance records cited by the New York Daily News.

Catsimatidis, 66, a supermarket billionaire who lost the city's GOP primary last November, told the Daily News that the mayor had asked him for the contribution after they spoke at a foundation dinner on Oct. 1.

"I do a lot of business in the city," Catsimatidis told the News. "I saw the mayor at an event. He asked me for a favor and I wrote the check.

"I just wanted to show an indication I was willing to work with him," he said.

The Catsimatidis donation was among nine contributions, totaling $452,000, that were deposited in the Putnam County Democratic Committee's account Oct. 9 and Oct. 14, the News reports.

The committee then transferred $433,000 on Oct. 15 and Oct. 17 to the campaigns of state Sen. Terry Gipson and Senate hopeful Justin Wagner, two Democrats whose races in the nearby Hudson Valley could decide which party controls the New York State Senate, according to the report.

"This clearly seems like an attempt to circumvent contribution limits," Bill Mahoney, of the New York Public Interest Research Group, told the News.

Under New York state campaign finance rules, donations of more than $10,300 cannot be made to individual candidates. Donors, however, can give as much as $103,000 to county political committees — and those funds may be transferred to individual campaigns, according to the News.

State rules do not limit how many dollars may be transferred to individual campaigns by the political committees.

The large donations were also significant because the Putnam County Democratic Committee had not received a contribution of more than $1,000 in at least 15 years, the News reports.

A de Blasio spokesman did not deny that the mayor helped to raise money for the Putnam committee, but told the News that de Blasio did not personally ask city contractors to give.

"The mayor is proud to support Democrats who will fight for women's equality, the middle class and raising the minimum wage," de Blasio spokesman Dan Levitan said.

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Politics
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took advantage of a big loophole in state campaign finance laws to steer a $50,000 contribution from former Republican mayoral candidate John Catsimatidis to two state Democratic candidates.
Bill de Blasio, campaign, contributions, loophole
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2014-18-29
Wednesday, 29 Oct 2014 07:18 PM
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