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Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Is Bloomberg a Co-Conspirator in Haggerty Campaign Funds Case?

Manhattan prosecutors revealed that Mayor Bloomberg was a secret grand jury witness in the criminal investigation of Bloomberg campaign operative John Haggerty.


Questions: Given that Bloomberg curiously wrote a check to the New York State Independence Party in order to ensure that Haggerty's payment would not require disclosure until well after the 2010 election, could Bloomberg risk legal -- criminal -- exposure to a charge of having conspired to evade the campaign reporting requirements?


Why isn't the Manhattan U.S. Attorney's Office -- or that in Albany -- investigating Bloomberg's necessary role in this? (The answer is obvious if you're a cynic.). Why aren't federal charges in the offing?

Since when is a fairly transparent effort to avoid campaign finance reporting requirements -- certainly an effort that seems to clearly involve the "mens rea" or intent element that is a necessary element of virtually any crime -- not worthy of an investigation?  Let's compare this with the situation involving former New Jersey lawmaker Joseph Vas.

In New Jersey, an ongoing state and federal prosecution into similar activities relating to the unsuccessful 2006 congressional primary campaign of former Perth Amboy mayor Joseph Vas has resulted in guilty pleas by co-conspirators and a federal criminal conviction of Vas plus his plea this past fall to state criminal charges.
 Eric Dixon is a New York election lawyer.  Mr. Dixon represents businesses, individuals and political organizations on legal and strategic matters, including counseling people involved in investigations and lawsuits on how to cope with the stress of being sued, investigated or prosecuted. He can be reached at 917-696-2442 and by e-mail at edixon@NYBusinessCounsel.com.


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