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Manhattan DA Expands Probe Into Fundraising By Team De Blasio

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- There was more bad news for Mayor Bill de Blasio Friday, as the Manhattan District Attorney's office has expanded an investigation into the mayor's attempt to help Democrats take over the New York State Senate in 2014.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance has subpoenaed records from the Monroe County Democratic Committee in upstate Rochester. He is investigating whether Team de Blasio violated campaign finance laws.

"The Monroe County Democratic Committee has received a subpoena from Manhattan District Attorney's Office seeking records related to certain campaign contributions," Monroe County Democratic Committee counsel Chris Thomas said in a statement.

Vance is reportedly looking into whether Team de Blasio funneled big bucks campaign contributions to Democratic Senate candidates in a pass-through scheme that circumvented individual campaign contribution limits of $10,300.

The first part of the probe involved money sent to Democrat Justin Wagner, who, despite de Blasio's efforts, ended up losing to Sen. Terrence Murphy (R-Shrub Oak).

On Friday, Murphy called it, "Bill de Blasio's pay-to-play scam."

"It's like an onion. The more you peel it back, the stinkier it gets," Murphy said. "And Bill de Blasio stinks of corruption."

The Monroe County Democratic Committee is reportedly being asked about $225,000 it received from three New York City-based unions. Of that sum, $218,000 was reportedly then transferred to then-state Sen. Ted O'Brien.

De Blasio spokesman Andrew Friedman of Berlin Rosen said, "We are confident that at all times all of our efforts were appropriate and in accordance with the law."

This latest news came as City Hall insiders noticed the effects of the probes on the increasingly inaccessible mayor.

"There's a heaviness on the other side of City Hall," said Queens city Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer (D-26th). "I think anybody who is under this kind of intense pressure; scrutiny, would obviously not be feeling as good about getting up and going to work."

The mayor has had fewer public appearances and news conferences lately.

De Blasio spokeswoman Karen Hinton insisted that the mayor is focusing on his job, saying, "The work continues and nothing will hinder the Mayor's commitment to improving life for all New Yorkers."

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