Aspects of the campaign financing practices of New York City mayor Bill de Blasio are under federal corruption investigation, the New York Times reports. The investigation centers around two businessmen with ties to de Blasio — Jona Rechnitz and Jeremy Reichberg. Federal agents reportedly have interviewed roughly 20 senior New York Police Department officials as part of an examination of the ways Rechnitz and Reichberg wielded influence in New York City.
Now, apparently, the investigation has led to an “aggressive review” of de Blasio’s fundraising.
According to the Times, Rechnitz and Reichberg served on the committee that planned de Blasio’s inaugural celebration in 2014. Rechnitz and his wife each contributed $4,950, the maximum amount allowed, to his 2013 campaign. Rechnitz raised about $45,000 for de Blasio.
The Times finds it unclear at this point what specific aspect of the mayor’s fund-raising is under scrutiny and how it relates to the conduct of the two businessmen. However, the de Blasio administration “has been dogged by investigations into corruption at the New York Police Department and a controversial land deal that benefited a donor’s company,” according to the Wall Street Journal.
Meanwhile, de Blasio has endorsed Hillary Clinton for president over Bernie Sanders. Does this mean that corruption is thicker than socialism?
The Journal wonders how news of the federal investigation of de Blasio will affect the upcoming Democratic primary in New York. Sanders apparently won’t raise the matter, presumably because de Blasio remains fairly popular among New York Dems and quite popular among blacks.
This doesn’t negate the possibility that the probe of de Blasio will affect the Clinton-Sanders race. However, any impact seems likely to be marginal. If corruption bothered Democratic voters appreciably, Clinton wouldn’t be headed to the nomination.