Nonprofit files complaint alleging de Blasio may have violated campaign finance rules

Nonprofit files complaint alleging de Blasio may have violated campaign finance rules
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The Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit that works to counteract the influence of money in politics, alleged New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioNew York City to remove Thomas Jefferson statue from City Hall Woman accused of trying to set fire at Jewish school arrested in New York City EMILY's List announces early endorsement of Hochul MORE’s presidential campaign could have broken campaign finance rules, according to a complaint filed on Wednesday.

The nonprofit's complaint to the Federal Election Commission alleges de Blasio raised money through two PACs — Fairness PAC and NY Fairness PAC — that then helped finance his travel to early primary states before he formally launched his candidacy.

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According to the group, at least 25 donors donated to the two PACs and then also donated the maximum $2,800 allowed to the de Blasio campaign after he launched his candidacy.

The funding provided by the two PACs before de Blasio became a candidate could have violated campaign rules, the nonprofit alleges, since de Blasio did not properly account for or reimburse all the expenses, including for "digital services," which it argues should have been reflected as formal campaigning. 

Furthermore, de Blasio should have have reflected that those donors gave both to the two PACs and to his presidential campaign, the group notes, since that would mean some of them would have violated the maximum that individuals are allowed to donate to candidates. 

De Blasio’s campaign “appears to have concocted a shell game to arrange for a small number of wealthy donors to support de Blasio’s presidential run above and beyond legal contribution limits by routing money through a federal committee, Fairness PAC, and a state committee, NY Fairness PAC,” the complaint reads.

“As a result, there is reason to believe de Blasio 2020 violated [the Federal Election Campaign Act] by accepting unreported and excessive contributions,” the complaint states.

The de Blasio campaign team did not reply to a request for comment from The Hill.

The complaint from the Campaign Legal Center comes after Politico reported about the two PACs and their funding for de Blasio's travels to some early primary states before he declared his presidential candidacy.

The New York mayor set up the two PACs with the intent to support progressive campaigns nationally, but, according to Politico, the groups also ended up steering funds to de Blasio.

Politico also reported that 37 donors had given money to both the two PACs and de Blasio's presidential campaign.