De Blasio accused of violating campaign finance rules by ethics watchdog

An ethics watchdog accused New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a 2020 presidential hopeful, of concocting a “shell game” and accepting tens of thousands of dollars in excessive campaign contributions from wealthy donors.

The Campaign Legal Center, a non-partisan organization, asked the Federal Election Commission to investigate de Blasio’s campaign, “which left voters in the dark about the extent and sources of the candidate’s support.”

Individuals cannot donate more than $2,800 to a 2020 presidential candidate; however, the CLC alleged that de Blasio circumvented the donation limit because at least 25 donors who donated the legal maximum to his campaign also gave an additional $5,000 to a federal committee, Fairness PAC, and a state committee, NY Fairness Pac, as he began exploring a presidential run.

“By concocting this shell game, de Blasio allowed donors to give above and beyond legal contribution limits by routing money through a federal and state PAC, in apparent violation of federal campaign finance law,” CLC said in a news release on Wednesday.

"We're reviewing the complaint now," Olivia Lapeyrolerie, a de Blasio campaign spokesperson, told FOX Business.


The PAC used the money to pay for staff, polling and travel to early primary states before de Blasio formally announced his candidacy. In the past, his campaign argued that because the state APC initially helped fund New York Senate campaigns, it was not an official exploratory committee subject to FEC limitations.

In a crowded field of Democrats, de Blasio trails most of his rivals in both funding and polling. He has not qualified for the presidential debate yet.