Before Maya Wiley became an MSNBC commentator and candidate for mayor, her most public moments came when she fell under the media’s glare for her role advising Mayor de Blasio and his administration on how to raise money legally.
The unwanted attention started during the first three years of de Blasio’s first term and it continues to linger.
In 2015, in what may now seem like a prescient assessment, Wiley summed up her role as de Blasio’s legal counsel in a video posted online by his wife, Chirlane McCray.
“I’m Maya Wiley. I’m counsel to Mayor Bill de Blasio, and that means I’m — I keep him out of jail,” she said jokingly. “I advise him on legal issues, but I’m also part of his senior team.”
De Blasio has so far avoided jail, despite allegations of fundraising malpractice. But now, about four months into Wiley’s run for mayor, exactly what role she played in counseling Team de Blasio — and in vetting donations to his cause — is still not entirely clear.
But documents obtained by the Daily News show that the part Wiley did play appears to be much more extensive than has previously been reported.
The newly unearthed records show that, aside from her connection to the controversial Campaign for One New York, Wiley also appears to have played a key part in vetting donors to the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC, a nonprofit dedicated to improving the lives of New Yorkers.
Wiley, who served as the mayor’s legal counsel for about two years, joined the de Blasio administration in the first year of his first term in office. Within months, she became involved in providing legal advice on how to ensure compliance with conflict-of-interest rules when it came to the Campaign for One New York, part of de Blasio’s fundraising apparatus.
The Campaign for One New York, also known as CONY, was established just weeks before de Blasio took office in 2014 and almost immediately began collecting donations to help promote his efforts to launch universal pre-K, widely regarded as his signature policy achievement in City Hall. After pre-K launched, the nonprofit took on a more general focus, but continued to raise — and spend — money to promote de Blasio’s priorities.
But it didn’t take long for CONY’s operation to come under scrutiny. Eventually, that led to probes from the city’s Department of Investigation, the Manhattan district attorney’s office and the state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics.