The Democratic primary campaign for mayor erupted into open warfare as leading candidates Andrew Yang and Eric Adams filed ethics complaints against each other alleging fund-raising and other abuses.
The Yang campaign fired first, filing a complaint with the city Campaign Finance Board on Monday triggered by a report in the New York Times that raised questions about Adams’ fundraising practices with donors with business before the city.
“Mr. Adams appears to have unlawfully received public matching funds when he failed to disclose that his bundlers conducted business with the City of New York,” said Yang campaign co-chairman Chris Coffey.
The report also cited instances where donors with business before the city contributed to a not-for-profit group founded by Adams, the current Brooklyn borough president, called the One Brooklyn Fund.
The Post had previously reported about conflicts with Adams hitting up donors with business before the city to contribute money to the One Brooklyn Fund.
The Adams’ campaign returned fire on Tuesday, filing a complaint against Yang with the CFB requesting a probe into claims of financial “irregularities” involving Yang’s not-for-profit Humanity Forward Foundation, his 2020 presidential campaign and his 2021 mayoral campaign.
Adams’ campaign complaint alleges that Humanity Forward was used to promote Yang’s mayoral campaign as part of “a scheme to evade the contribution and spending limitations of the New York City Campaign Finance Act.” Humanity Forward had given “micro-grants” to local groups, the complaint said.
Asked about the dueling complaints, a CFB spokesman said the agency will “review all information pertinent to its ongoing audit reviews of the 2021 campaigns.”
Yang campaign spokesman Jake Sporn responded that Adams is blowing smoke and that Yang and his committees had done nothing wrong.
“Journalists just detailed yet another damning pattern by Eric Adams of breaking campaign finance laws to benefit his donors and hide their contributions. In response, he’s accusing Andrew Yang of giving too much money to struggling Bronx families during the pandemic. We’ll let voters decide which is more problematic in a potential mayor,” Sporn said.
“Humanity Forward’s activity in New York predated Andrew’s decision to run for Mayor, and in no way was done to promote Andrew as a candidate for NYC mayor. Andrew completely stepped away from Humanity Forward prior to becoming a candidate for NYC mayor,” added Sporn.
For his part, Adams insisted he acted appropriately and violated no laws.
Adams spokesman Evan Thies said, “Yang’s attack is as made up as the jobs he supposedly created with Venture for America [another Yang not-for-profit group]. He’s just trying to distract from the fact that he’s growing more and more unpopular as the campaign goes on.”
The two candidates have alternately run first and second in most polls as the June 22 primary approaches.