What we last week called the steady drip-drip-drip of disclosures from the widening probes into Mayor de Blasio’s fund-raising has now erupted into an enormous gushing stream.
Indeed, you have to go back decades to find a mayor so deeply mired in allegations of corruption and pay-to-play deals this early in his term.
US Attorney Preet Bharara and Manhattan DA Cy Vance are now reportedly looking into the suspicious financial dealings behind de Blasio’s bizarre obsession with shutting down the tiny horse-carriage industry.
Also now under investigation is the mayor’s 2014 effort to raise money for Democrats trying to win control of the state Senate, plus fund-raising for his own 2013 campaign.
This on top of all the earlier disclosures about ongoing probes into his many political slush funds, particularly the Campaign For One New York.
And a suspicious deal that allowed a Lower East Side nursing home to be flipped to a luxury condo developer, netting the seller a $72 million profit.
So much for de Blasio’s insistent claim just a couple of weeks ago that there’s “nothing to see here” in the investigations.
He’s also singing a very different tune these days about whether he’s been contacted by Bharara’s office. What was once a denial that “any federal agency in any way, shape or form” had done so has given way to silence.
The big picture: Team de Blasio has been a money vacuum since he took office. Bharara’s doubtless looking into whether the flows of cash were illicitly structured to seem to comply with the law.
People with business before the city gave huge and unlimited sums to CONY, which wasn’t bound by campaign-finance laws.
The mayor’s team also arranged for huge sums to go to upstate Democratic county committees — sums then diverted to candidates who couldn’t legally receive them directly. That looks very much like an end-run around the campaign laws.
Bill de Blasio is fond of bemoaning the role of money in politics, even as he’s directed tons of it for his own political ends. In trying to outsmart the big-money players at the game, did he wind up breaking all the rules?