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De Blasio Fined Nearly $48,000 Over 2013 Campaign Finance Violations

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio has been hit with tens of thousands of dollars in fines for violating a laundry list of campaign finance violations.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the mayor did not need a reminder of the ongoing city corruption probe as he begins his 2017 reelection campaign. But he got one, and a whole lot more.

City Campaign Finance Board executive director Amy Loprest read a long list of reasons for the fines Thursday.

They included "failing to report transactions, accepting over-the-limit contributions, failing to demonstrate spending was in furtherance of the campaign, (and) making impermissible post-election expenditures," Loprest said.

In total, de Blasio was fined nearly $48,000 for violating spending rules during his 2013 campaign for mayor.

The violations involved a host of things, including money he spent on his wife, Chirlane McCray, and his kids, Dante and Chiara. The violations also involved money the board said was improperly given after the election to the public relations firm that hired his campaign manager, and which had already received $380,000 from the campaign.

De Blasio, who got $6 of taxpayer money for every $1 he raised, was accused of improperly spending $161,000 after the election as over, including $116,000 that went to Hilltop Strategies – the firm that hired campaign manager Bill Hyers. Hyers is one of the so-called "agents of the city" whose emails de Blasio is fighting to keep private.

There were also many expenses the board deemed improper, including:

• $550 for Election Night makeup for de Blasio himself, his wife and his kids;

• Nearly $300 so son Dante could fly to Washington, D.C. for the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have a Dream" speech;

• Nearly $600 for a hotel and rental car in Santa Clara, California, so de Blasio could attend so-called "finance prospecting meetings." A source noted pointedly that daughter Chiara was attending college in Santa Clara at the time.

For most of the questionable expenses, the campaign had the same reaction.

"While we strongly disagree with many of the CFB's findings, we are pleased that the 2013 campaign audit is now complete," said spokesman Dan Levitan.

But there is another part of the story. The board wonders why the mayor did not explain how a number of high-profile intermediaries raised campaign cash. Some of them have ties to the ongoing city corruption probe.

Among the intermediaries whose fundraising was not properly documented was Jona Rechnitz, a real estate investor at the center of the corruption probes involving City Hall.

Rechnitz has a cooperation agreement and has pleaded guilty in two cases – one involving gifts to high-ranking police officers in exchange for favors.

Also on the long intermediaries list are two people involved with NYCLASS, which lobbied the mayor to ban horse carriages.

Among other public officials fined on Thursday was former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who lost the 2013 Democratic mayoral primary to de Blasio. Her penalties totaled nearly $14,000.

City Comptroller Scott Stringer was also fined Thursday. He was hit with a penalty of $10,500.

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