FBI Investigates Possible Fake Donors in Eric Adams’ Campaign



New York Mayor Eric Adams’s campaign is under investigation for the alleged use of straw donors to conceal illegal contributions, following an FBI raid on the home of the campaign’s chief fundraiser. According to a search warrant, the campaign may have received illegal foreign contributions from the Turkish government and Turkish nationals, disguised as donations from U.S. donors. Earlier, two brothers had pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor conspiracy charge in a similar scheme of funneling thousands to Mr. Adam’s campaign, but both Mr. Adams and his chief fundraiser have denied any knowledge of illegal contributions.

Mayor Eric Adams’ Campaign Under Investigation Again for Illegal Contributions

The use of straw donors to secretly fund political campaigns, a scheme that led to the downfall of New York’s former lieutenant governor and a 2013 mayoral contender, is now under scrutiny for the second time in the campaign of Mayor Eric Adams.

As part of an investigation into whether illegal foreign campaign contributions were funneled into Adams from the Turkish government and Turkish nationals through US donors, the FBI searched the home of Brianna Suggs, Adams’ chief fundraiser. Details can be found here.

Six men were indicted in Manhattan in July for a similar scheme involving Adams’ campaign. Two brothers have pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor conspiracy charge, and more inconsistencies have been discovered in donations to the mayor’s campaign.

Both investigations focus on whether eager donors used straw donors to mask large donations and who coordinated the effort. Adams and Suggs deny any wrongdoing and any knowledge of the illegal contributions.

Adams’ Donations Vetting and NYC’s Generous Matching Program

Questions arise about Adams’ campaign’s donation vetting process. Rival Andrew Yang’s 2021 campaign had two staff members vetting donations over $100. Adams’ campaign lawyer, Vito Pitta, asserts that the campaign flagged and investigated any questionable contributions. Thanks to a generous matching program in NYC, $1 donated can turn into $8 in public funds. More information on the program here.

Adams’ Fundraising Tactics and NYC’s Campaign Finance Board

Adams, a moderate Democrat, has been in politics for decades, pushing the boundaries of campaign-finance and ethics laws. His tactics have been scrutinized before. The city’s Campaign Finance Board examines donations closely, including those to Adams’ first mayoral campaign.

Corruption Investigation and Alleged Straw Donor Scheme

The corruption investigation led to an early-morning search at Suggs’ home. The warrant suggests that foreign nationals made campaign contributions through a straw donor scheme. Evidence related to payments or reimbursements made to employees of KSK Construction Group in Brooklyn were authorized to be seized.

Past Straw Donor Scandals

Two former associates of John Liu, a former city comptroller and top mayoral contender, were convicted in 2013 in a straw donor scheme. Last year, former lieutenant governor Brian Benjamin resigned following his indictment in a similar scheme.

Concerns Over Political Influence and Bribery

Despite Adams’ denial of any knowledge of the potential straw donors, there are concerns about the appearance of his openness to be influenced. The city’s political landscape is being scrutinized for signs of a return to an era of pay-to-play politics and bribery.

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