The city’s Campaign Finance Board slapped Mayor Bill de Blasio this afternoon with $47,778 in penalties for an array of violations connected with his 2013 campaign—including verboten post-election expenses, travel costs for his son and “makeup services” for his family.
His biggest fine was $21,159 for making impermissible post-election expenditures. In a summary of its final determination for the de Blasio, the board said that the campaign paid Hilltop Public Solutions $168,750 for post-election services, $116,250 of which they said are improper post-election expenses.
The mayor’s campaign said that Hilltop served as its general consultant and that it was qualified to oversee the initial post-election “winding down work” as well as the “final winding down” work—and cited the hiring of Bill Hyers as contributing to the firm’s “unique” qualifications. The campaign also said the firm was paid on an as-needed basis as opposed to a standard monthly retainer so the fees paid under contract are nominal.
Hyers is one of the five infamous “agents of the city” whose email correspondence with the administration de Blasio has refused to release—even in the face of lawsuits from the press.
But the board said that the campaign failed to provide ample documentation and explanations outlining the responsibilities, work product and other services Hilltop provided.
The next biggest fine was $12,483 for accepting over-the-limit contributions, followed by $6,086 for accepting contributions from corporations, limited liability companies or partnerships and $3,200 for failing to demonstrate compliance with intermediary reporting and documentation requirements.
He was also fined for $2,087 for failing to file/late filing of daily pre-election disclosure statements and $1,000 for accepting contributions from unregistered political committees.
Other smaller penalties were $407 for failing to report transactions, $300 for failing to document transactions and $250 for commingling with campaign funds accepted for a different election.
The mayor was also fined $806 for failing to demonstrate that spending was in furtherance of the campaign. In particular, the board notes $550 spent on makeup services for de Blasio and his family on Election Night, which his campaign descried as a legitimate expense because it was meant to prepare them for their scheduled televised public campaign appearances “at a likely victory celebration.” But the board stated that using campaign funds for “personal grooming” is prohibited.