In case you didn’t notice back on May 20th, former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that he was running for Congress in New York’s 10th District. You’re to be forgiven if the story didn’t really grab your attention because the voters in the 10th District didn’t seem to notice either. Or if they did, they clearly weren’t interested, at least according to the most recent polling. The former Mayor struggled to even make it out of single digits. Now, less than two months later and with a full month left before the primary, de Blasio has pulled the plug on his campaign and announced that he is abandoning electoral politics to seek “other ways to serve.” But between his failed runs for both Governor and Congress, he raised a lot of money. That’s leaving some New York political analysts wondering what he plans to do with it all. (The City)
Twice in the last eight months former Mayor Bill de Blasio has publicly flirted with a run for office, first openly talking about his desire to be elected governor and then launching a run for Congress.
Twice he’s bowed out after just a few weeks.
Some might see that as a political debacle, but between those two failed candidacies, de Blasio has succeeded in raising a bundle of cash with nearly $700,000 that he gets to keep.
What he will do with all that money depends on a complicated and murky set of campaign finance rules and regulations.
Here is Bill’s tweet and video where he concludes that Gotham’s residents are “looking for another option” and declares that he will be leaving electoral politics behind.
It’s clear the people of #NY10 are looking for another option and I respect that. Time for me to leave electoral politics and focus on other ways to serve. I am really grateful for all the people I met, the stories I heard and the many good souls who helped out. Thank you all! pic.twitter.com/gpt6V6WLUf
— Bill de Blasio (@BilldeBlasio) July 19, 2022
For a candidate who gained virtually no traction in either race, de Blasio certainly did well at fundraising, just as he always used to. He amassed enough money to still have more than $700,000 left over when he dropped out. So if he’s seriously not thinking of launching yet another campaign for yet another office, where will that money go?
He has plenty of options as noted in the report linked above. He owes more than $400K to a lobbyist law firm that represented him while he was being investigated over pay-to-play corruption allegations. He’s also supposed to repay more than $300K to the taxpayers for a private security detail he hired during his failed presidential run. Those two bills alone could pretty much dry up his campaign account.
That may not have been an accident. FEC filing records show that de Blasio raised more than $500,000 for his congressional campaign but spent less than $75 thousand of it. Similar numbers were observed in his fundraising for the governor’s race. It’s hard to ignore the possibility that de Blasio was fully aware that he stood no chance in either race and never put forth any vigorous effort to win. He may have simply been raising money because he knew he needed a way to pay off all of the debts I mentioned above.
But is that legal? Given the murky laws covering campaign finances in New York, it probably is, even if it seems completely unethical. Asking donors to fill your coffers with the expectation that you will remember their generosity once you are in office is common. But if you take that money knowing full well that you’re not even going to try to be elected, that’s pretty shady, to say the least. But de Blasio’s entire political career has been marked by shady financial dealings, so perhaps the donors should have known better.
So what’s next for Big Bill? He left behind a broken city with a massive crime problem and a collapsed budget. These were the result of his many failed, liberal policies. And he will apparently never be held accountable for anything. In fact, there’s probably a book deal in the works for him as we speak.