A nonprofit tied to New York Mayor Bill de Blasio said last Friday it would not comply with a subpoena issued by a New York State ethics panel, according to The New York Times.
The state’s Joint Commission on Public Ethics has been investigating the nonprofit, the Campaign for One New York, after good-government groups and the news media questioned whether the group violated state law by lobbying on behalf of Mr. de Blasio’s agenda without registering as a lobbyist in 2015.
The group’s lawyer, Lawrence D. Laufer, said in a letter to the ethics commission that the panel was engaged in a “blatantly political exercise” and stated that the nonprofit did not engage in lobbying in 2015 and thus was not required to register. Mr. Laufer also questioned whether Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration was influencing the investigation.
The letter appears to show that initial inquiries into the nonprofit centered on fundraising materials the group used, which discussed school issues that required state approval. The panel felt the materials signaled that the nonprofit intended to engage in lobbying in 2015. Groups are required to register with the panel within 15 days if they know they will spend more $5,000 on lobbying, according to the Times.
Seth Agata, executive director of the panel, suggested that he would go to court to compel the documents the panel sought, perhaps early this week. He declined to comment on specifics in Mr. Laufer’s letter, saying that he could not share the details of an open investigation.