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Originally published: March 16, 2017

Nonprofit and political fundraising activity conducted so close to city hall decisions still not ethical

Today’s announcement by the offices of the US Attorney and Manhattan District Attorney that charges will not be filed against the Mayor or his associates related to the various investigations into his fundraising activities is a double­ edged sword. We are relieved that the city’s important business can move forward without the impact criminal charges would have had on the operation of the city and the confidence in the Mayor and his administration. However, the decision by these prosecutors not to bring charges does not remove the serious concerns about the ethical conduct of this administration in both political and nonprofit fundraising, and city hall decisions. While the line was not legally crossed, it was ethically blurred. It certainly does not serve the public good to create a pay-­to­-play atmosphere where New Yorkers who have business before the city feel the need to contribute financially to the Mayor’s political and nonprofit interests in order to have their business favorably considered. New Yorkers should not feel that they have to pony up in order to have a leg up on their issues or projects. Particularly in light of the concerns raised by District Attorney Vance, this should be taken as a cautionary tale for the Mayor. He and his aides do not have the green light to conduct business as usual because the business was unusual and the conduct ethically questionable.

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