Federal and state investigators have received thousands of documents related to New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s fundraising activities and have begun interviewing some of his donors, people familiar with the matter said.
Investigators have focused on specific donors to Mr. de Blasio as they examine whether the mayor and his allies traded favorable government action for contributions to his various political efforts, including Mr. de Blasio’s 2014 campaign to bring the state Senate under Democratic control, people familiar with the matter said.
As part of the records demand, investigators from the Manhattan district attorney’s office, the U.S. attorney’s office in Manhattan and the Federal Bureau of Investigation have received a trove of documents, including internal emails, evidence of financial transactions and correspondence between the mayor’s political operation and county political committees, people familiar with the matter said.
The documents have come from city aides, political consultants close to the mayor and a number of donors who are cooperating, people familiar with the matter said.
The authorities are looking, in particular, at any donations that appeared to coincide with favorable official action by Mr. de Blasio’s administration, these people said. One person said the authorities are examining when donors’ communications with city officials occurred in conjunction with interactions with Mr. de Blasio’s fundraising staff.
According to people familiar with the matter, one person under scrutiny is Ross Offinger, who served as a fundraiser for the mayor’s 2013 campaign and for the Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit organized by the mayor’s allies and dedicated to the mayor’s agenda. In March, the Campaign for One New York announced it would shut down its operations.
Messrs. de Blasio and Offinger worked together on fundraising, sometimes sitting together on afternoons at Bar Toto in Brooklyn making calls, according to people familiar with the matter.
So let's say the feds pick up Offinger and ask him, "What do you have to trade for a lighter sentence?"
Think he'll bring up any of those afternoons at Bar Toto making fundraising calls with de Blasio?
Oh, you bet he will.
So far in the Cuomo investigation, there's no inkling yet that the feds are closing in on Cuomo himself - just the people around him.
But in the de Blasio investigation?
They're closing in on him.