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Less than a week ago, Mayor de Blasio was offering aid to Ecuadorians after the earthquake there. Now a political earthquake is rocking City Hall and the mayor is the one who needs help.
The report from the state Board of Elections that accuses him and his team of “willful and flagrant” violations of campaign-finance laws immediately changes everything.
The veneer of business as usual is shredded. Never again can de Blasio wave off questions about the mushrooming investigations of his administration. As revelations pile up day after day, allies will desert him and the Putz will find himself a very lonely man.
There is no way to sugarcoat the facts: de Blasio is in trouble. Maybe very big trouble.
His City Hall is being depicted as the seat of a criminal enterprise. And so far, he offers nothing resembling a convincing denial.
As bad as it is, the election report covering the 2014 state Senate races is just the start. The endgame involves the more lethal issue of whether de Blasio sold government favors to donors. That is what federal prosecutors are looking for, and I believe they will find a mother lode.
Yet if the election report were all there is, it would still be a problem. It calls one of the campaign violations a possible felony and refers its findings to Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. for prosecution. That explains why Vance recently partnered up with US Attorney Preet Bharara in the multipronged probe, effectively doubling the number of prosecutors and investigators.
And that gets to the heart of de Blasio’s vulnerability. His 2014 Senate effort wasn’t unique. It is just one example of how he has done business since the day he won the election in 2013.
Think of it as de Blasio’s Big Idea. While denouncing income inequality, he was determined to harvest big bucks from unions and private firms that had business before the city, and then to use that money to carry out his “progressive agenda.”
He raised as much as $40 million and deposited it in various slush funds he formed, including the Campaign for One New York, which he started before he even took the oath of office.
The mayor’s 3 strikes:
City Hall knew about, and offered $16M to undo, nursing home flip
De Blasio used ‘slush fund’ to support faulty pre-K programs
City Hall backed campaigns with series of checks to ‘dodge’ limits