NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Mayor Bill de Blasio and a New York state ethics panel are engaged in an intense tug of war over team de Blasio’s refusal to hand over documents related to his lobbying and fundraising.
As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, de Blasio will not utter the name of Gov. Andrew Cuomo – at least in public. But he said he will not respond to a subpoena from the Joint Commission on Public Ethics because the governor is the puppeteer pulling the strings.
They went to court to compel de Blasio’s cooperation, and de Blasio dug in his heels, Kramer reported.
Kramer asked de Blasio about it all on Tuesday.
Kramer: “They claim that they have seven Democrats and seven Republicans and it’s bipartisan. I wonder if you believe what they’re saying.”
De Blasio: “No, I don’t. I think it’s quite clear a double standard is being held. I think it’s quite clear there are other motivations, and if they want to go to court, they can go to court. We think it’s quite clear that they are beyond their purview.”
After a month of subpoenas, nonstop questions about five separate corruption probes, and repeated insistence that he will cooperate with any and all investigations, de Blasio has drawn a line in the sand. He said he will not turn over documents relating to his political nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York, to a state ethics panel because it is a political witch hunt engineered by Cuomo.
“We’ve seen these games played before, and we’re not going to stand for it,” de Blasio said.
His remarks came as the Joint Commission on Public Ethics, JCOPE, went to court to force de Blasio’s hand. Executive Director Seth Agata said de Blasio cannot pick and choose the investigations he complies with, and he said the courts will side the commission.
“These are matters that warrant an investigation, so yes, and if they say the governor is pulling the strings, they are just plain wrong,” Agata said.
Meanwhile, Cuomo spokeswoman Dani Lever released a statement saying the governor’s office has nothing to do with the investigations.
“The administration was first made aware of the reported investigations by the U.S. attorney, district attorney and Board of Elections when they were reported in the press,” Lever said in the statement.
All this came as the political sharks have begun circling. The very moment de Blasio was inside City Hall signing bills into law, two possible opponents to his reelection were outside his window. Brooklyn U.S. Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.) and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. were ostensibly talking about a summer jobs program Tuesday, but the questions were about their political intentions.
When asked if he would support de Blasio’s reelection, Diaz said, “We’ll see what happens.”
Jeffries said, “It’s still premature.”
Diaz was asked point blank if the corruption investigations had made him rethink the possibility of running for mayor next year. He said had every “intention” of seeking another term as borough president, but he added, “These investigations are serious.”