Now that New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has finally abandoned his unrealistic presidential bid, the press has the opportunity to begin sorting through the records of his campaign finance activities. Given the tepid flow of donations coming his way, there wasn’t much to sort through but there were still a few surprises. One of them, uncovered by the New York Post, was the revelation that Hizzoner had hired his son Dante for a couple of months to act as a policy analyst. Of course, he wasn’t in the race long enough for any of this to add up to a ton of money.
Dante de Blasio, the mayor’s son who graduated from Yale University in May, earned $650 a week from Aug. 1 through Sept. 16 as a policy analyst for his father’s presidential campaign, according to Federal Election Commission disclosures filed late Tuesday.
His salary was just $175 a week less than the campaign’s South Carolina political director, Breanna Spaulding.
Dante’s Yale pal, Ashtan Towles, also worked for the campaign at the same time as the mayor’s son, earning an equivalent salary. Most of the campaign’s $1 million in expenses from July through September were related to the mayor’s travel to early-primary states.
I’m not sure how much of a bombshell this actually is. Sure, it’s technically nepotism, but it wasn’t for a government job. It was just a campaign staff position. And while I’m sure there were tons of more qualified and experienced candidates available, Dante did at least graduate from Yale so it’s not as if he might not have had the chops for the job. (And frankly, de Blasio was never within smelling distance of the nomination so did it really matter?)
Hiring his friend from college falls pretty much into the same category. $650 a week isn’t a bad salary at all for that sort of position, but it’s also not exorbitant to the point of calling it an abuse of donor money I suppose.
Of far more interest is the series of very real campaign finance scandals following de Blasio around back home in New York. There are currently several people sitting in jail for dodgy manipulation of campaign cash related to the Mayor’s previous runs. Heck… there are two people behind bars who pled guilty to bribing de Blasio, though prosecutors somehow never managed to get around to wondering if he might be guilty of something also.
When looked at in that light it’s not surprising that the press corps would want to sift through his presidential campaign finances. But if a job for his son and a college buddy are all they come up with, he ran a much tighter ship than he did in his mayoral campaigns.