If New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio is actually serious about making a 2020 run for the White House he’s going to need a sizable truck to clean out all the skeletons in his closet. There are a number of trials and investigations underway which all deal with the Mayor’s 2014 election campaign and the scandal-plagued fundraising activities associated with it. One of those was the Mayor’s One New York campaign, which raised a ton of cash, frequently through rather dubious means to say the least.
Reporters have been filing Freedom of Information Law requests (FOIL, which is the NY State version of FOIA) looking for details of One New York, including emails exchanged between de Blasio and Jonathan Rosen of the public relations firm BerlinRosen who oversaw most of One New York’s affairs. Up until now, Mayor de Blasio has been telling reporters that such communications are none of their business, but a federal judge just decided otherwise and ordered the Mayor to turn them over. (CBS New York)
[Mayor de Blasio] just received a slap in the face from an appeals court, which said under the Freedom of Information Law, he will have to make public email exchanges with political operative Jonathan Rosen, of public relations powerhouse BerlinRosen.
Team de Blasio argued that Rosen, who ran the scandal-scarred campaign for One New York, was exempt because he is an “agent of the city.” The court said, no way.
“These documents include examples of the mayor and Mr. Rosen discussing issues important to BerlinRosen’s private clients. The documents are the types of communications that the FOIL meant to make available to the public,” the court wrote. “Respondents’ attempts to withhold these communications run counter to the public’s interest in transparency.”
While this sounds like good news for fans of government transparency, I’m not holding my breath for anything major to come of it. People have been dragged into court and either confessed or been convicted of any number of schemes surrounding de Blasio’s last campaign, but the Mayor somehow keeps slipping away without being directly implicated. One of the most recent incidents involves an ongoing bribery case where the star witness took the stand and testified that when he told the Mayor he would need to break some campaign finance laws to come up with the funding needed, de Blasio told him, you do what you gotta do.
On a related note coming out of those bribery trials, the Mayor is still insisting that the guy who pleaded guilty in federal court to bribing him wasn’t really bribing him. And yet, the people of New York City keep electing him, even after he went on the records saying that he really wishes he could do away with the concept of private property in New York City, one of the nation’s biggest centers of capitalism.
Forget “Teflon Don.” This guy is Bulletproof Bill. Now that he’s going to be forced to turn over his emails perhaps something significant will come to light. But as I said, I wouldn’t bet the ranch on it. Bill de Blasio is leading a charmed life at this point.