New York City Mayor, Bill deBlasio, is in the spotlight once again the latest investigation into his political campaign has shown that he used personal email accounts for city business – and solicited campaign donations from city employees.
According to a report by the New York Times, not only did investigators find that deBlasio use personal email over 1850 times. He also used this address to request several city administrators to give favors to his donors and give campaign contributors.
Among the questionable activities conducted by deBlasio, a noteworthy one included his “extensive and longstanding efforts” to help Harendra Singh with a multimillion dollar lease issue. Singh is a campaign donor and friend of the mayor.
Reports reveal that the mayor’s staff constantly told officials at the Department of Citywide Administrative Services to “resolve this matter” and help Singh out to resolve this dispute because of his being “a friend of the mayor,” several officials said.
Mayor deBlasio has repeatedly defended his fundraising activities. However, following an investigation in March this year, both state and federal prosecutors decided not to prosecute him.
“I’ll just say simply it’s been basically a year, I’ve said consistently that we acted appropriately,” deBlasio said in March.
But a US attorney for New York discovered a pattern in which the mayor seemed to have received contributions from individuals needing city favors. He then also contacted the agencies to forward requests to help his donors. What’s more surprising is that Singh’s case seems to be one in many.
According to the memo, many members of deBlasio’s staff regularly used personals emails for business. There were hundreds of cases where the mayor’s senior staff, including his chief of staff, director of intergovernmental affairs, first deputy mayor, and special counsel improperly used personal emails.
According to Eric Phillips, the City spokesman, New York does not have a formal policy about usage of private emails. He however rebuked deBlasio for not leading by example.
“Employees are supposed to use their government email for government work,” Phillips said. “That’s always been the protocol and we remind City Hall and agency staff of that frequently.”