The ghost of campaigns past continues to haunt Mayor de Blasio.
His shuttered presidential campaign argued Thursday that federal regulators have the wrong idea about a debt it incurred earlier this year.
At issue is a more than $50,000 payment from de Blasio’s NY Fairness PAC to his presidential campaign.
Hizzoner’s presidential campaign repaid the cash in September, but the feds still wanted to know why he took money from a PAC meant to help candidates on the state level — a violation of federal rules stipulating state groups can’t give more than $2,800 for the presidential primary.
Now de Blasio’s presidential campaign is arguing it’s not an issue, contending the NY Fairness PAC wasn’t technically a state entity.
“Your current letter asserts that ‘NY Fairness PAC appears to be a committee established by the candidate for a non-federal election campaign,’” de Blasio’s campaign wrote Thursday, replying to a Nov. 20 inquiry from the FEC. “That is incorrect. NY Fairness PAC was established in 2018 as, and remains, a ‘Type 2’ political action committee under the New York Election Law and the rules of the New York State Board of Elections.
“It is not a ‘Type 1’ … state committee … Mayor Bill de Blasio has been term-limited in his current office since the 2017 New York City mayoral election and he is not a candidate for any other nonfederal office.”
Use of the PAC to pay for campaign expenses as de Blasio struggled to woo donors was effectively an end-run around federal election finance rules — the money was categorized as a debt, as opposed to a contribution.
“Today’s letter is largely a technical response to the FEC’s routine inquiry,” de Blasio spokesman Jon Paul Lupo said in a statement. “The FEC letter states that NY Fairness PAC ‘appears to be’ a candidate committee, but, as our letter explains, under NY law — which the FEC letter doesn’t address — NY Fairness PAC is in no way, shape or form a candidate committee.”
Even if the feds buy the de Blasio campaign’s take on NY State PAC, he could still be in hot water. Federal committees can’t give candidates more than $5,000 during the primary.
The de Blasio’s campaign’s latest missive came the day of the deadline the FEC had given it to explain the PAC’s loan.
It’s not clear whether a ruling on the de Blasio campaign’s explanation is forthcoming, since the FEC has been operating without a quorum of commissioners for more than 100 days.
De Blasio burned through about $1.4 million on his presidential run, which ended Sept. 20, and his shady fundraising has drawn scrutiny for years.
De Blasio’s shuttered Campaign for One New York was the subject of multiple investigations. Federal and state prosecutors eventually decided against charging de Blasio or his aides, though it was found he’d intervened on behalf of donors seeking favors from City Hall.