Speaking to WNYC’s Brian Lehrer on Friday, the mayor again argued that his behavior was legally within bounds and questioned why investigators did not speak with Miller as part of their probe. He also suggested that the report did not properly account for past precedent.
“Previous mayors — Ed Koch ran for governor of New York State, Rudy Giuliani ran for US Senate, John Lindsay ran for US President — they all were treated in one way during those experiences,” de Blasio said. “Other mayors had children who had security, they were all treated one way. My experience was the same as all my predecessors, but … this DOI suddenly decides there is something wrong. I think that’s patently unfair.”
In its report, though, the DOI said that de Blasio’s use of NYPD security during his presidential campaign was in violation of “publicly available guidance issued by the Conflicts of Interest Board.”
“During the approximately four months of active campaigning, Mayor de Blasio made approximately 21 separate trips to numerous destinations, totaling approximately 60 days, in whole or in part, of travel,” the report states. “DOI notes that some members of the Mayor’s security detail typically traveled to these destinations ahead of the Mayor, incurring additional travel costs.”
“DOI found that staffers on the Mayor’s 2019 presidential campaign were at times given rides by the security detail, in vehicles where the Mayor was not present,” Garnett said. “Some of these individuals were Mayoral staffers who had taken leaves of absence from their City positions to work on the Mayor’s presidential campaign.”
The total expenses, the DOI added in its report, include “only ancillary travel costs — namely flights, hotels, rental cars, fuel, and meals — and does not include (Executive Protection Unit) salary or overtime costs.”
Pressed on whether he would repay the “approximately $319,794.20,” as it was described in the DOI report, de Blasio said Thursday he was “prepared to do whatever the law requires,” but again referred to his appeal letter and said the report and his pushback had broader implications.
“A decision needs to be made, not just about me, but about all future mayors,” de Blasio told reporters. “I believe the process will be an honest process. I believe the conflict of interest board will carefully weigh this evidence and then they’ll come to a determination.”