New York – Mayor Bill de Blasio tried to turn the tables today on the rumors that continue to swirl about the financing of his mayoral campaign, pointing the finger of blame at a system that relies on public financing for political campaigns.
Speaking today to Katie Couric in a Yahoo News interview, de Blasio said that a donations based system for political campaigns only works for those with very deep pockets, and can leave some elected officials feeling indebted to those whose financial support helped put them in office.
“Unless you are a billionaire or a millionaire the question is can you go about the work with integrity every single day and put the peoples’ interests first?” queried de Blasio.
The mayor insisted that despite taking donations from Jeremy Reichberg and Jona Rechnitz, two men at the center of an FBI corruption probe that has rocked the city, he has never given any preferential treatment to political contributors and that decisions in City Hall are guided by one principle only: doing what is right for the City of New York and its residents.
“Until we get money entirely out of the political system, of course you’re going to turn to people for donations big and small. But that doesn’t change the way you make your decisions.”
Noting that Jona Rechnitz had made a $50,000 donation to de Blasio’s Campaign for One New York which has since been closed down, Couric asked if the non-profit had been dismantled because of the ongoing investigation.
de Blasio responded that the two events were completely unrelated, saying that Campaign for One New York had been created as a vehicle to publicize his office’s views regarding issues such as Universal Pre-K and affordable housing. Once those battles had been won, there was no need for Campaign for One New York which was subsequently shuttered.
de Blasio also told Couric that at no time has been contacted by anyone regarding the ongoing investigation.
“I’m not going to be speaking about this after today,” de Blasio said at an unrelated press conference in the Bronx on Monday. “I’ve answered a number of questions already. I’ll answer more and then, let’s leave it there,” he said.