From City Journal:
De Blasio on Defense
The Gotham mayor’s tangled web of money, power, and influence could finally be unraveling.
April 25, 2016
Did New York City mayor Bill de Blasio run a pay-to-play money laundering operation out of City Hall?
It’s looking that way. Corruption-busting U.S. attorney Preet Bharara is probing the progressive icon’s political fundraising to determine whether those seeking something from city government were expected to pony up substantial sums that were then funneled to the mayor’s political allies. …
Preet Bharara works in an opportunity rich environment.
Even as the WFP expanded its reach, operatives from Acorn and the New York state senate Democratic political organization went into business for themselves. Acorn veterans Jonathan Rosen and Valerie Berlin—chief of staff to then-state senator, now-attorney general Eric Schneiderman—formed consulting firm BerlinRosen. Doug Forand, Marc Lapidus, and Nathan Smith, the senate Democrats’ brain trust, formed Red Horse Strategies. These firms have prospered richly under the WFP/de Blasio ascendancy, together booking more than $6 million in consulting fees for the 2013 municipal elections alone. But these outfits don’t limit themselves to helping politicians get elected: they also serve as consultants to labor unions, real-estate development corporations, and issue-based organizations—all seeking access to the halls of power. Neither BerlinRosen nor Red Horse is obligated to disclose the fees it collects, since neither calls itself a “lobbyist.” De Blasio reportedly spends hours per day talking to Rosen, who was also Sheldon Silver’s longtime adviser. Both claim that they never mix business with politics.
Four out of the city’s five district attorneys, as well as the state attorney general, are clients of these same consulting firms, so it is no surprise that this web of interconnections has become a federal matter.
Consultants have turned New York’s political system inside out. They control the flow of money from their private clients to candidates who are forced to hire them, with the mayor’s office allegedly acting as a go-between.
Interestingly, one of the heavyweight Democratic consultants (although not closely affiliated with de Blasio) is Luis A. Miranda Jr., founder of the not for profit Hispanic Federation and the for profit MirRam Group.
Miranda wears his hair long and white, like a Founding Father.
Thanks to his father, Luis A. Miranda Jr., a New York political consultant who has been a close adviser to Fernando Ferrer, the former Bronx borough president and mayoral candidate, and State Senator Adriano Espaillat, the younger Mr. Miranda’s jingles found their way into English- and Spanish-language advertisements for politicians including not only Mr. Ferrer but also H. Carl McCall, the former state comptroller, and Eliot Spitzer, the former governor. All those politicians are Democrats.
“He’d say, ‘I have a Sharpton radio ad — I need 60 seconds of smooth jazz,’ ” Lin-Manuel Miranda recalled the other day.