New York’s inspector general found that a state official leaked a document marked “privileged and confidential” to a reporter about an investigation into New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio’s campaign fundraising.
In April, the New York Daily News reported that a state document found “willful and flagrant” violations by de Blasio and his campaign to avoid some contribution limits in an effort aimed at helping Democrats win the state Senate majority in 2014. Although the Senate effort failed, the document stated there was enough evidence to draw a criminal probe by the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office.
The newspaper reported the recommendation was sent in January from Risa Sugarman, chief enforcement counsel to the state Division of Election Law Enforcement, to the state Board of Elections’ four commissioners.
The leak to the newspaper sparked a renewed round of feuding between the mayor and Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo.
State Inspector General Catherine Leahy Scott said yesterday that her investigation of the leak revealed that the director of public information at the state Board of Elections “admitted under oath that he emailed” the document to a Daily News reporter on April 20.
The inspector general, who was appointed by Cuomo, said the communications director, John Conklin, who was appointed by a Republican elections commissioner, also released the document to the Senate’s Republican majority.
De Blasio and his staff in April had called the leak a political dirty trick and suspected the Cuomo administration may have been behind it.
Conklin, however, works for the Board of Elections, which is headed by two Democrats and two Republicans, rather than directly under Cuomo.
Conklin didn’t respond to a request for comment. A spokesman for the Senate’s GOP majority didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Sugarman, who was appointed by Cuomo, called for an apology. “Allegations were made primarily by the New York City mayor that I leaked the report due to political motivations,” Sugarman said in a statement. “Now that we know the facts, I hope the mayor will apologize for maligning my integrity and professionalism.”
“The IG’s report confirms that Ms. Sugarman’s office failed to secure the confidentiality of the memo,” said Laurence Laufer, de Blasio’s campaign lawyer. The inspector general’s report “raises serious questions about the BOE’s management and policies. If anyone should apologize, it is surely the BOE.”