Team Adams ordered to cough up nearly $20k in campaign finance-related fines

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Major Adams’ inaugural committee got socked Monday with $19,600 in fines for violations it committed immediately before and after his Jan. 1, 2022 swearing in, according to a ruling from the city’s Campaign Finance Board.

At a Monday morning hearing, the board found that Adams’ inauguration team ran afoul of three campaign finance rules that apply to entities that handle transitions and inaugurations.

One of the violations — for failing to respond to the board’s information requests and for providing late responses to requests — carries the largest fine of the three and will cost Adams’ inauguration committee $14,400, according to the board’s ruling.

Last year, the board requested account statements and expenditure records from the inaugural committee on three separate occasions — in May, June and July of 2022 — but the committee “did not submit a response,” the board noted in its final determination, which also states that the first response it received came in October, after which it had issued a penalty notice.

The determination goes on to point out that the committee also failed to respond to inquires it made about bank statements showing deposits totaling $120,400 that “were not reported” and reported donations totaling $56,207 that were “not reflected in its bank statements.”

“The deadline to respond was June 30,” the determination notes. “The (committee) did respond to the request.”

Evan Thies, a spokesman for the now-defunct committee, noted that the committee ultimately did respond to the requests for information — just not within the timeframe proscribed by the board.

“Out of more than $2 million raised from nearly a thousand New Yorkers, a handful of contributions were flagged, which the inauguration committee returned. The campaign also returned more than $800,000 it raised that it did not need to spend,” he said. “These fines are essentially just late fees for responding appropriately to the campaign finance board.”

The other two violations carry fines of $5,000 and $200 each.

The $5,000 fine is tied to the committee accepting prohibited donations, in this case five donations from individuals listed in the city’s Doing Business Database, a compendium of people and entities that had business before the city.

The $200 fine is for failing to “properly wind down” the committee’s activities.

The board’s ruling is not the first against a sitting mayor.

In 2016, Adams’ predecessor, former Major Bill de Blasio, was fined by the Campaign Finance Board for more than $47,000.

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