Bill de Blasio has never been shy regarding his views on money in politics. Using his pulpit as New York City Public Advocate, de Blasio advanced an agenda of silencing corporate speech and tracking his opponents’ political activity.
After all his talk about creating burdensome new regulations on political activity, as a NYC mayoral candidate, de Blasio seems to have trouble keeping up with the rules governing his own activities.
First it was just fundraising scheme that was a little too cute for NYC’s Campaign Finance Board. Now de Blasio’s campaign has, allegedly, moved on to accepting heavy discounts for fundraising events from felons.
Victor Jung, who served a year in federal prison for skimming $1.3 million from NBC, where he once worked, organized the de Blasio events at a restaurant he manages, Villa Pacri, in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District.
Jung billed the de Blasio campaign $4,349.53 for booze and appetizers for 75 people at a May 21, 2012, event, and charged the same for a Dec. 10 fund-raiser. The charges amounted to $22.50 per person per hour.
But two nights after the Dec. 10 event, Jung charged a birthday party for 75 people $17,000, according to a lawsuit filed by Matthew Levine, a former business associate of Jung and his restaurant partner, Michael Shah.
Jung’s charges for the birthday party worked out to $58.33 per person per hour, which is more in line with the industry norm of $60 per person per hour. The nearby Standard Grill charges about $50 per person per hour for parties.
The article continues:
Compared with those costs, de Blasio’s payments for the two fund-raisers appear to have been about $15,000 below the going rate.
Under the city’s campaign finance law, candidates buying goods and services must pay a reasonable estimate of “fair market value.”
Although this debacle probably won’t carry the same penalties as other incidents where certain pro-regulation politicians were found to be out of compliance with campaign finance laws and regulations, it goes to show that even the holier-than-thou crowd has trouble navigating the complex web of rules and regulations that compose our political system. If even established politicians can’t get it right, how do we expect first time candidates to fare under this system?