An Interlocking-Directorate of Lobbyists That Controls the Council Speaker
Setting precedent, Conflict of Interest Board settles with Mark-Viverito (CapitalNY) Lawyers for City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito have reached a settlement with the city’s Conflict of Interest Board following an investigation into free political consulting services that Mark-Viverito accepted during the race for speaker in 2013. As part of the settlement, the speaker has agreed to pay a $7,000 fine for accepting the services, a small fraction of the $25,000 statutory maximum she faced when the inquiry was first launched. The ethics board launched the non-criminal investigation in January of last year, alleging she acted improperly by accepting help from the Advance Group — a lobbying firm which has business dealings with the city. Elected officials are barred from accepting anything of value from registered lobbyists including a gift in the form of a service. The settlement decision was strengthened by the fact that the structure of Mark-Viverito’s undeclared campaign account is different because the race was not subject to regular campaign finance rules. Normally, elected officials are barred from using campaign money to run for another office, or to spend money from transition committees which typically only help pay for inauguration events. During the race, The Advance group helped Mark-Viverito prepare for the race, which included several community forums and debates as well as behind-the-scenes politicking with council members and county party leaders who helped collect votes in her favor. * Melissa Mark-Viverito Drops Advance Group for Speaker Bid(NYO) Ms. Mark-Viverito insisted today that this was not the case but out of an “abundance of caution,” the relationship would end. Melissa Mark-Viverito Drops Advance Group for Speaker Bid - Blogs(TU) * An operative with the controversial Advance Group, Jonathan Yedin, who has been working in Brooklyn Democratic Party politics for more than a decade and belongs to Mr. Seddio’s political club. Though Ms. Mark-Viverito eventually stopped taking free advice from the Advance Group, Mr. Yedin remained a crucial player in the brokering of the deal, sources said. Inside Melissa Mark-Viverito’s Road to Victory(NYO) * Nailed! @MMViverito must pay $7K fine for accepting free help from lobbyists in bid for job (NYDN) In addition to the $7,000 fine, which Mark-Viverito can use campaign funds to pay, she’ll pay the Advance Group $3,796.44 for its work.