Washington Gadfly

De Blasio Stonewalls About His Iowa Hillary Trip’s Fellow Travelers

Evan Gahr Investigative Journalist
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Maybe now New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio regrets he did not stay away from Iowa like the Hillary Clinton campaign initially requested. His visit to Iowa on her behalf that ended Monday is causing one embarrassment after another.

First, the Big Apple leader fessed up to the New York Daily News that most Iowans he met while canvassing did not even recognize him. Now, his administration is coming under fire for refusing to provide the names of 15 City Hall underlings who accompanied him to the Hawkeye state, supposedly on their own dime.

Spokeswoman Karen Hinton told the New York Post that she is withholding their identities because de Blasio’s worker bees used “personal vacation days” and their own money for the jaunt. The city did not pay for it, she claimed.

Of course, unless the de Blasio administration names names it is impossible to know if she is telling the truth. The Post has filed a Freedom of Information Law request for the employees’ names and attendance records, which is supposed to be public information.

Also, under what circumstances did these 15 staffers “volunteer” to use vacation time and their own money to help de Blasio with his latest effort to emerge as a national “progressive” power broker. That was mighty generous of them but people generally take cues from their boss.

Meanwhile, City Hall claims that the Clinton campaign has promised to partially reimburse them for the trip. But for what exactly?

The America Rising PAC is trying to get some answers. It has a pending request for all communications between the Hillary campaign and de Blasio’s office from February 1, 2015, to October 27, 2015. Yesterday, the Arlington, Virginia-based group asked for “all copies of additional communications between the same parties from October 28, 2015, through February 1, 2016.”

In a statement to Politico that she declined to elaborate on for this article America Rising PAC press secretary Amelia Chassé said people should not just take de Blasio at his word that “more than a dozen of his aides openly engaged in partisan politics and didn’t use any taxpayer-funded resources. Sending a cadre of public officials halfway across the country requires a tremendous amount of coordination and communication, and also takes staffers away from City Hall where they should be conducting the people’s business.”

The mystery here that the requested material should explain is whether for de Blasio’s worker bees the Hillary trip was really business or pleasure.

But another matter probably will not be cleared up by such disclosures. De Blasio was accompanied to Iowa by a security detail.

Who footed that bill?

The mayor has previously refused to reimburse New York for transportation costs, like gas and tolls, for the NYPD detail that chauffeurs him around on personal trips. He also stuck taxpayers with the cost for protection on his family trip to Italy last year.