By Michael Howard Saul, Wall Street Journal
Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Tuesday said he did not violate campaign finance laws when he wired more than $1 million from his personal fortune to the New York State Independence Party to pay for an Election Day ballot security and poll-watching operation in 2009.
A volunteer on Bloomberg's 2009 re-election campaign, John Haggerty, is slated to go to trial next week on charges that he stole funds that the mayor intended for ballot security and poll monitoring. Haggerty has pleaded not guilty.
The case has raised a number of questions about the level of transparency in the mayor's 2009 re-election campaign.
On Tuesday, when a reporter told the mayor that some election lawyers have suggested he violated campaign finance laws, Bloomberg said, "They don't know what they're talking about."
"We've been asked by the district attorney not to say anything, and, so, I'm not going to say anything," he added. "But you can rest assured we're focusing on doing what's right in terms of keeping this city going. And we'll do that."
Manhattan prosecutors examined whether the mayor violated any criminal laws and concluded they couldn't prove any wrongdoing. The Campaign Finance Board is still examining whether the campaign violated civil election laws.
Four days before the 2009 election, Bloomberg, who ran on the Independence and Republican party lines as he sought a third term at City Hall, transferred $600,000 to the Independence Party's housekeeping account. A day before the election, the mayor made a second contribution of $600,000.
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