Bill de Blasio Says Lawmaker Made the Right Call Not to Join His Campaign Firm

Mayor says Assemblyman Michael Blake was right to back out of a controversial new side gig

Assemblyman Michael Blake. (Photo: Gerri Hernandez)

Assemblyman Michael Blake. (Photo: Gerri Hernandez)

Mayor Bill de Blasio said today that a Bronx assemblyman made the right decision to not join a leading campaign firm while serving in the Assembly.

Michael Blake, a Bronx assemblyman viewed as a rising star in the Democratic Party, drew scathing reactions from good government groups and reformers after he announced on Friday he was going to work for Hilltop Public Solutions, a campaign and public relations firm closely tied to Mr. de Blasio, while serving in the Assembly. While Mr. Blake, a veteran of both Obama campaigns, maintained there would be a strict “firewall” between his work at Hilltop and the State Legislature, the appearance of a conflict of interest, coupled with a pair of federal corruption convictions predicated on outside income, proved too great to overcome.

He announced Sunday night he was not taking the side gig, which was permitted because state lawmakers are allowed outside income.

“I think the assemblyman ultimately made the right decision. It was obviously a very sensitive moment,” Mr. de Blasio told the Observer after an unrelated event in Manhattan. “I think he thought about that and did the right thing. ”

Mr. de Blasio said state lawmakers should be full-time, a position Mr. Blake, an occasional de Blasio critic, doesn’t agree with.

“I think they should be full-time. I think they should be properly compensated also,” he said. “Obviously it was legal and he went out of his way to get approved by the ethics panel but it was also a very sensitive moment.”

Bill de Blasio Says Lawmaker Made the Right Call Not to Join His Campaign Firm