Brooklyn BP Eric Adams uses nonprofit to raise from donors with business before city – skirting campaign finance rules in quest for City HallAugust 12, 2019
Wannabe mayor and Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is skirting campaign rules by raising tens of thousands of dollars from donors with business before the city for his nonprofit, the Daily News has found.
Adams set up the “One Brooklyn Fund” his first year in office in 2014, raising at least $995,000 and as much $2.9 million by March 2018, according to filings with the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board.
The nonprofit — which is officially linked to the borough president’s office — lets wealthy donors curry favor with Adams without running afoul of rules barring city candidates from raising money from corporations, limited liability companies and partnerships.
The One Brooklyn Fund also lets Adams supporters to bypass city laws that exclude those corporations, but allows lower contribution limits for certain people with city business.
Candidates for borough president can’t raise more than $320 from individuals in the city’s “doing business” database — and mayoral contenders can’t take more than $400 from them.
Records show at least $85,000 and as much as $340,000 raised by One Brooklyn has come from 11 entities in the database. One Brooklyn Fund has also raised at least $325,000 and as much as $1 million from entities who’ve recently lobbied the city, records show.
And the nonprofit’s benefactors are also giving to the borough president’s 2021 campaign, even though Adams hasn’t officially declared his candidacy for mayor.
Of the $2.19 million his campaign’s raised since January 2018, at least $46,620 came from people tied to entities that have also given to One Brooklyn Fund over the years. One Brooklyn Fund director Edolphus Towns, a former congressman, even bundled $6,940 for Adams’ campaign.
Ethics watchdogs say the arrangement is ripe for conflicts.
“It can be an end run around the city’s contribution limits,” said Alex Camarda, a senior policy adviser for good government group Reinvent Albany. “If the same entities can make contributions to a nonprofit affiliated with an elected official then the corruption risk is sky-high.”
The borough president’s office defended the arrangement.