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Lawmaker: De Blasio Should Put All City Hall And Campaign Staff On Hiatus During Federal Probe

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) - The lawmaker who first sought a federal investigation into Mayor Bill de Blasio's fundraising practices is demanding more action.

Fourteen months ago, State Sen. Terrence Murphy filed a complaint calling for an investigation, claiming de Blasio improperly funneled contributions to candidates for the state Senate to facilitate getting his agenda passed.

The Putnam County lawmaker said de Blasio was trying to buy himself Democratic control of the state senate with large donations from those with business before City Hall, WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported. 

"This laundering money was used to dramatically exceed the contribution limits for state senate races," he said.

Now Murphy wants de Blasio to remove all City Hall staffers and campaign staffers who are currently on the payroll until the federal probe is over, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported.

"Can you say 'pay to play,'" said Murphy. "Like I said in 2014, this was a shakedown by Mayor Bill de Blasio on business owners in New York City."

Two of those staffers Murphy would like to see put on leave are Emma Wolfe, the mayor's director of intergovernmental affairs, and Ross Offinger, the treasurer of de Blasio's fundraising arm.

"Absolutely not" should they be on the payroll, Murphy said. "This is exactly what's wrong with politics."

Mayor spokesperson Karen Hinton said no action will be taken.

De Blasio said Monday, "A lot of very good people are having their names dragged through the mud these last few weeks. That's not right, that's not fair."

Murphy claims Offinger recently funneled $50,000 in a reportedly questionable contribution to Democrat Todd Kaminsky, who narrowly won the seat vacated by convicted state Sen. Dean Skelos.

"At a minimum, give it back. I mean, he was a prosecutor for the U.S. Attorney General's Office. This is what he ran on. This is a disgrace," Murphy said.

Kaminsky's office said the money went to the Nassau County Democratic Committee.

Nassau chairman Jay Jacobs said every large contribution was vetted, but Murphy's aides said they suspect de Blasio is still at it.

Consultants close to de Blasio are working for Democrats who want to defeat Murphy in November.

"It's something that's been going on for a long time in the state. It's a very normal thing to provide support for party organizations," de Blasio told Kramer back when she first broke the story in 2014. De Blasio also rejected the "pay to play" accusation at the time.

"There's nothing new here. For years and years, people have supported party organizations," he told Kramer in 2014.

"And two years later, look what's happening," Murphy said Tuesday.

Murphy has introduced a new bill that would expand penalties for illegal contributions from one year to seven years in jail.

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