He may be running for mayor, but Bill de Blasio’s last campaign is still causing headaches. Mr. de Blasio’s 2009 campaign for public advocate was fined more than $20,000 Thursday for various violations by the city’s campaign finance board.
The fines range from $300 for failing to file a daily disclosure statement, to $1,625 for accepting nine over-the-limit contributions that it eventually refunded, and $1,750 for accepting contributions from eight unregistered political committees, which the campaign also eventually reimbursed.
But the most interesting was the $10,000 he was fined for something called “comingling.” According to the board, Mr. de Blasio’s campaign routinely mixed up spending between its 2009 and 2013 accounts, displaying “inconsistent rationales for allocating expenditures.” That left $32,000 in expenses that could not be allocated to one campaign committee or the other, they said.
“CFB staff observed a frequent, substantial, and contemporaneously undocumented flow of funds between the Candidate’s 2009 and 2013 accounts, in violation of the Act and Rules provisions cited above,” the ruling read. “Numerous transactions were improperly paid for by each committee, and significant liabilities from each to the other accrued.”
A spokesman for Mr. de Blasio’s current campaign said the charges were unwarranted–but said they would pay up anyway.
“While we believe that the penalties imposed by the CFB on Bill’s 2009 campaign are without merit and are confident that they would have been overturned if we had appealed further, we have decided to move on in order to concentrate fully on the 2013 campaign,” the spokesman said in a statement. “We are pleased that the issue has been resolved.”
Campaigns routinely get fined tens of thousands of dollars for infractions ranging from disclosure errors to fines for taping campaign posters to public property. de Blasio previously paid $300,000 for illegal campaign posters. His fellow mayoral candidate Bill Thompson paid even more, shelling out nearly $600,000 in fines for illegal postering during his 2009 campaign, in addition to fines for other violations like accepting over-the-limit contributions.
Comptroller John Liu was also charged more than $500,000 for posters during his 2009 campaign.