The Guardian view on the New York City mayoral campaign finance reports: lack of transparency | Editorial

STATEMENT FROM THE MAYOR-ELECT ERIC ADAMS

The NYC Campaign Finance Board’s decision to release the reported itemized receipts of elected officials, even prior to a general campaign finance report being filed, has impacted mayoral candidates on a wide variety of issues. We understood this to be a tactic used by political opponents to embarrass us. On Thursday March 14th, the Campaign Finance Board released a report indicating that Bill de Blasio had received over $800,000 in contributions from 10 contributors over a two-year period prior to his public announcement of his candidacy. The Campaign Finance Board’s action came on the heels of de Blasio reporting over $100,000 from one candidate’s campaign in the past week and 30-day period on 19 March. I strongly disagree with this action, which I deem an attempt to influence the outcome of the Mayoral elections through the use of a method designed to rig the system. This type of action is especially troubling since the Campaign Finance Board does not have the authority to audit individuals’ financial and tax returns. The Campaign Finance Board, with all due respect, does not have the authority to audit NYC Mayor David Dinkins’s financial records or Bill Clinton’s past political donations. Over the last 12 years I have decided not to accept campaign contributions from people I am not related to because I did not want to be caught up in gossip or innuendo. I also do not take any payments from private corporations, and have thus avoided any opportunity to engage in outside economic conflicts of interest. The decision I made earlier this year to continue the practice of funding my campaign by selling air time for free, is consistent with the unwavering commitment to integrity that is my hallmark as Mayor-Elect Adams. I will not pay any entity for air time because I have decided to fund this campaign out of my own personal savings, not by accepting any campaign contributions from others. The Campaign Finance Board has called to my attention contributions received from entities that relate to my possible ability to profit personally from my Mayoralty. I am deeply concerned about these issues, and ask the Campaign Finance Board to reconsider its decision to disclose these reports, which I believe will have a chilling effect on the right of candidates to win fair and free elections. I am not going to pay to play. As Mayor of New York City, I will not be playing the same Washington game as so many Washington politicians. You cannot expect anyone in business to invest in, or invest with, another company that could benefit one of their competitors if that business falls on hard times. Nor, nor will I expect an individual or organization to provide my campaign with money if I fear that, while I am in office, I will need to block their lobbyists from doing business with City Hall. I am simply saying that if your money reaches me, you will never know what I will do with it, and I will not hold it in my private account. There is no middleman to cover me on such matters. You will not have to worry about any ethics charges; I will not accept contributions from individuals or entities that will benefit me personally if I am Mayor.

For the foreseeable future, my campaign will be funded completely by my own savings. I know that my personal decisions regarding my finances will no longer be subject to public scrutiny, and I hope that everyone will understand that this is simply the way my nature has evolved in the last several years. As Mayor-Elect Adams, I will continue with the robust record of public service that defines my career and serve as a true advocate for all of the men and women of New York City. I also invite anyone who supports me to join me in this journey, and share in our success as I strive to become the voice for the working class and the middle class in this country.

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