Michael Goodwin discusses the federal probe of Brooklyn police commanders, real estate developers, and Mayor Bill de Blasio’s nonprofit political action committees and finds that the ‘fish stinks from the head’:
One hint of the feds’ focus surfaced last month when de Blasio suddenly announced that he was closing the first of the shady groups, the Campaign for One New York. It was formed soon after he won election, before he even took office, with the stated purpose of pushing his agenda.
It’s $4.36 million haul included $350,000 from the teachers union just before de Blasio gave the union a sweetheart contract. Large “gifts” from developers are reportedly of special interest to prosecutors.
That wouldn’t be surprising in light of the lucrative benefits de Blasio has lavished on the real-estate community. Remember, too, that real-estate firms were at the heart of the corruption convictions Bharara won against former Albany leaders Sheldon Silver and Dean Skelos. Maybe he sees a sequel.
De Blasio’s announcement of the closing came just weeks after Common Cause filed its five-page formal complaint against him. It accused his slush funds of using “dark money” that obscures “who has influence and access to the policymaking process.”
The operation “has created a perpetual campaign, confusing the role of government and politics, to the detriment of the public interest,” the letter said.
It was sent to the Campaign Finance Board and the Conflicts of Interest Board. Both are stuffed with mayoral appointees, and neither responded.”