NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The man who just succeeded the corrupt former state Senate majority leader is refusing to give back a big money contribution that was arranged by the person at the center of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign donations probe.
CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported that state Sen. Todd Kaminsky is being grilled about a $50,000 contribution arranged by Ross Offinger, who is at the center of the state and federal probe into whether de Blasio and his team skirted campaign finance laws during a frantic attempt to engineer Democratic control of the Senate in 2014.
“The contribution you’re talking about was not made to me. It’s not mine to give back,” Kaminsky said.
O’Brien Murray, the campaign manager for Kaminsky’s Republican opponent Chris McGrath, said Kaminsky should give the money back.
“Todd Kaminsky used to be a federal prosecutor. How quickly he forgets. He’s obviously now a typical politician. He’s a hypocrite,” Murray said.
Kaminsky beat McGrath by 862 votes to succeed convicted ex-politician Dean Skelos.
The $50,000 in question was raised by Offinger, who was being paid as a fundraiser by the Nassau County Democratic Committee. It gave the money, which apparently came from a real estate developer with ties to de Blasio, to Kaminsky.
“Look, what I think is what we need to do here in Albany is fix our campaign finance laws,” Kaminsky said in response to Kramer when she asked him about giving the money back.
Jay Jacobs, chairman of the Nassau County Democratic Party, said everything Offinger did for him was on the up-and-up. Offinger was paid $14,000 to raise funds to help elect Kaminsky.
“Because you have an allegation against someone, unproven by the way, that they may have raised money improperly in 2014 doesn’t mean that every dollar they raised after 2014 or before, for that matter, is also improper,” Jacobs said. “Trying to smear the donation by its association to the donor is just the wrong way of going about it.”
This was a hotly contested race and there is a lot of finger pointing on both sides.
Offinger has been subpoenaed in the probe and prosecutors are trying to find out if members of de Blasio engineered a scheme to skirt campaign donation limits.