DA Hynes Backs Eugene

Another wrinkle in the already interesting City Council race in Brooklyn’s 40th District:

It turns out that Brooklyn District Attorney Joe Hynes has donated money to Mathieu Eugene, the candidate who won the February special election to fill the seat but never took office. (Eugene failed to prove that he lived in the district at the time of the election.)

The contribution, made on Feb. 3, was for $250.

The practice of a DA getting involved in a local race is not illegal — a spokesman for the city’s Conflict of Interest Board said there is no regulation barring them from making political contributions — but it is frowned upon by good government advocates.

“Very strange,” is how the Citizens Union executive director Dick Dadey described the contribution.

“I don’t think it’s illegal but it certainly raises concerns,” he told me.

“What,” he asked hypothetically, “if something were to arise, with political corruption, with Mathieu Eugene?”

Hynes, through a spokesman, defended the contribution he made, and rebuffed the notion of any impropriety.

Here’s his quote, as read to me by a spokesperson:

“I rarely contribute to political campaigns but I like and respect Dr. Eugene. I have appeared on his Haitian television show several times. He has given us space for one of our neighborhood offices. There is neither the perception of impropriety nor conflict of interest in my choosing to contribute to his campaign.”

According to a search of the city’s campaign finance board database, which goes back to 1989, this is the first personal contribution Hynes has made to a city candidate.

— Azi Paybarah DA Hynes Backs Eugene