Federal authorities want to know if Mayor Bill de Blasio used straw donors to feed his 2013 campaign for City Hall, according to a published report on Thursday.
New York City’s campaign finance laws cap individual donations to a candidate for citywide office at $4,950 — and the feds are investigating whether anyone close to de Blasio reimbursed donors or passed money on to others to make a rules-skirting contribution, DNAInfo reported.
The news website noted a handful of unusual donations to de Blasio in 2013:
*Two drivers for a Queens beauty product wholesaler, Primary One LLC, gave almost $10,000 to the future mayor. They were reimbursed for going over the $9,900 limit ($4,950 twice).
*One of those truck drivers, Rafael Zepeda, who lives in a third-floor walk-up in Corona, gave the max $4,500 to de Blasio’s transition committee after his election to office.
*Records showed that Primary One LLC president Sm-Ali Amanollahi, his relatives, employees and associates chipped in $55,000 to de Blasio’s campaign between October 2013 and December 2013.
*A Bronx landlord denied giving de Blasio $4,500, despite records of his donation.
Meanwhile, the mayor is throwing serious legal muscle at the state and federal investigations into his campaign’s financing tactics.
The Law Department has contracted two top-tier law firms to help with the case.
“As part of our cooperation with law enforcement inquiries, the Law Department has contracted with the law firms Debevoise & Plimpton as well as Carter Ledyard & Milburn to represent the City and assist in document collection and review,” the department said in a statement. “The lawyers have been in touch with the US Attorney’s Office to advance that cooperation.”
The mayor has also retained Barry Berke of Kramer Levin “to assist in all efforts to cooperate with authorities and ensure they have all the information they need to bring these investigations to a prompt conclusion,” the department said.
City funds will not be used to cover de Blasio’s legal expenses, according to officials in the mayor’s office.