Expert Wonders If De Blasio’s Congressional Run Was Used To Pay Off Debts

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Mary Rooke Commentary and Analysis Writer
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Former New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio ended his U.S. Congressional campaign Tuesday, leaving questions over what will happen to the hundreds of thousands of dollars his campaign raised since May.

Before de Blasio dropped out of the Democratic primary for New York’s 10th Congressional District, he had $450,000 in his congressional campaign and almost $245,000 in his gubernatorial exploratory committee, The City reported.

Election and campaign finance lawyer Aaron Foldenauer, who recently lost a long-shot bid for mayor, told the outlet that de Blasio could use the almost $700,000 in campaign money to settle debts from previous allegations he misused funds. (RELATED: REPORT: Aide To NYC Mayor Eric Adams Jumped At Gunpoint)

“De Blasio spent less than 15% of the more-than $500,000 that he raised for his Congressional run, which itself strongly suggests that De Blasio has been using his purported Congressional run to build a war chest to use as a slush fund to pay off outstanding liabilities,” Foldenauer told The City.

The former mayor still owes New York taxpayers around $320,000 for using the New York Police Department as a protective detail during his short-lived New York gubernatorial campaign, The City reported. He also owes close to $425,000 to lawyers who represented him during the government investigation into an alleged pay-to-play scheme involving political appointments and campaign contributions, according to the outlet.

Additionally, two committees created to aid de Blasio’s 2020 presidential campaign, de Blasio 2020 and the Fairness PAC, don’t have enough cash on hand to pay the over $100,000 in combined debt, Federal Election Commission filings show.

“It turns out that De Blasio’s short-lived run for Congress was the perfect tool for him to convince donors to give him new money which he can now use to pay off his old debts,” Foldenauer told The City.

De Blasio announced he was leaving the race in a Twitter video Tuesday, saying, “It’s clear the people of [New York’s 10th district] are looking for another option and I respect that.” The former mayor said he will bow out of “electoral politics and focus on other ways to serve.” 

Recent polling sponsored by the progressive Working Families Party showed that before dropping out, de Blasio was in seventh place in the crowded Democratic primary, only garnering 3% of the vote. The poll surveyed 636 likely Democratic party primary voters from July 1-11 with a margin of error of +/- 3.87%.