MIDTOWN — Mayor Bill de Blasio's administration has hired two law firms to help the city with multiple ongoing federal investigations into the mayor's fundraising activities.
De Blasio has also retained an attorney already representing his 2013 campaign to represent him personally.
"The Mayor has retained Barry Berke of Kramer Levin as his attorney to assist in all efforts to cooperate with authorities and ensure they have all the information they need to bring these investigations to a prompt conclusion," said de Blasio spokesman Peter Kadushin.
"In addition, Barry Berke will continue to represent the 2013 campaign."
The mayor is facing investigations including whether his unsuccessful bid to bring the state Senate under Democratic control in 2014 as well as fundraising efforts for the Campaign for One New York, a nonprofit to advance the mayor's agenda, violated campaign finance and election laws.
Berke will not be paid using taxpayer money. The two white collar criminal law firms hired to represent the city — Debevoise & Plimpton and Carter Ledyard & Milburn — will be paid with taxpayer money and will represent the City of New York and any city employee acting in their capacity as a city employee in the investigation.
"As part of our cooperation with law enforcement inquiries, the Law Department has contracted with the law firms Debevoise & Plimpton as well as Carter Ledyard & Milburn to represent the City and assist in document collection and review," the city's law department said in a statement.
"The lawyers have been in touch with the U.S. Attorney’s office to advance that cooperation."
City Law Department spokesman Nick Paolucci said the "cost of these contracts has not yet been determined."
Top de Blasio aide Emma Wolfe, the mayor's director of intergovernmental affairs, Ross Offinger, his top fundraiser, and officials at BerlinRosen, a consulting firm credited with helping secure de Blasio's mayoral victory, have all been subpoenaed by authorities.
Offinger is being represented by his own attorney. It was not immediately clear who was representing Wolfe, whether a city attorney or her own private counsel.
Federal authorities want to know whether donors to the Campaign for One New York received city favors in return for their donations. They are also examining whether the mayor's fundraising efforts to take back the state Senate purposely violated campaign finance laws.
De Blasio has maintained that he did nothing wrong. They mayor says his fundraising activities were carefully vetted by attorneys and that he obtained opinions from the Conflicts of Interest Board.
“As I said many times we hold ourselves to the highest standard of integrity. Everything we’ve done from the beginning is legal and appropriate. There is an investigation going on, we’re going to fully cooperate with that investigation," the mayor told reporters during a recent impromptu press conference.
The mayor has also hinted that the investigations may be part of an effort to attack him because of his progressive agenda and his fight for things such as universal pre-K, affordable housing and, a $15 minimum wage.
Over the last few days, DNAinfo New York has reported that federal investigators are scrutinizing the mayor's 2013 campaign for possible straw donors and how de Blasio personally solicited real estate developer Don Peebles to contribute $20,000 to the Campaign for One New York, even though the developer had business before the city.
Berke is a de Blasio fundraiser who hosted six events for the mayor from 2010 to 2013. The attorneys representing the city from Debevoise & Plimpton will be Sean Hecker and Matt Fishbein, said the city's law department. Hecker donated $1,500 to de Blasio's 2013 campaign.
The attorney from Carter Ledyard & Milburn is Michael Bellinger.
Employees from Debevoise & Plimpton donated $10,190 to de Blasio's 2013 campaign and employees from Carter Ledyard & Milburn donated $875.