NYC Mayor Eric Adams Says He Will Cooperate With FBI Campaign Probe

(Bloomberg) -- New York Mayor Eric Adams said he would “follow the law” amid a federal investigation into his campaign financing.

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Speaking to the media on Tuesday for the first time since news reports said his phones and iPad were seized by FBI agents last week, Adams, a former police captain, said he would cooperate fully with the probe.

“I spent my life enforcing the law, and I’m going to continue to tell the team that we follow the law in this administration and in all my administrations,” Adams said at City Hall.

A search warrant seen by the New York Times indicates investigators are looking at a so-called straw donor scheme involving the Turkish government or Turkish nationals in which contributors listed for Adams’s 2021 mayoral campaign weren’t the actual source of the money, according to the newspaper.

Federal authorities are also examining whether Adams pressured former Fire Department Commissioner Daniel Nigro to expedite the opening of the Turkish consulate’s 35-story tower in time for the United Nations General Assembly in September 2021, the Times reported. That was after Adams, who was then the Brooklyn borough president, won the Democratic primary but before he had won the general election in November.

“We don’t do the straw donors,” Adams said Tuesday. “We don’t do quid pro quo. We follow the law. I’m very clear on that.”

Adams said he reached out to Nigro to ask about the status of the Turkish consulate building as part of the normal work of an elected official. He noted that as Brooklyn borough president, he represented one of the largest populations of Turkish residents outside of Turkey.

The federal investigation became public on Nov. 2 after Federal Bureau of Investigation agents executed a search warrant at the Brooklyn home of Adams fundraiser Brianna Suggs. They were seeking information about whether Adams’s campaign had taken illegal foreign donations from contributors with ties to the Turkish government, the Times reported.

Read more: NYC Mayor Adams Says FBI Hasn’t Contacted Him Over Campaign Aide

The FBI executed a dozen other search warrants related to the investigation the same day, including one at the home of a Turkish Airlines executive, CNN reported. Adams hasn’t been accused of any wrongdoing, according to his chief counsel.

Adams and City Hall officials declined to answer questions Tuesday about whether any other members of Adams’s administration or campaign had their devices seized.

Adams has made at least a half-dozen trips to Turkey over the past decade, according to his own public statements and disclosures filed with the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board.

The probe is just the most recent scrutiny of the mayor’s donors and administration members.

In July, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg indicted six donors to Adams’s 2021 campaign on fraud charges, alleging they had orchestrated a straw donor scheme to take advantage of the city’s generous public matching funds program, which gives candidates eight dollars for every dollar raised in donations from givers living in the city, up to $250.

In September, Bragg indicted former New York City Buildings Commissioner Eric Ulrich and several other associates on bribery charges. Late last month, two of the donors Bragg indicted in July pleaded guilty to misdemeanor conspiracy charges in connection with the straw donor scheme. Adams wasn’t formally accused of any wrongdoing in either case.

(Updates with details of investigation and background on other investigations into Adams donors)

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