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Mayor Bill de Blasio defends fundraising practices

Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks to the media

Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks to the media briefly after visiting the 14th annual CUNY/Daily News Citizenship NOW! Call-In event at Guttman Community College in Manhattan on Thursday, April 28, 2016. Credit: Bryan R. Smith

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio on Friday defended his campaign fundraising practices, now the subject of federal and state criminal probes, as necessary to counter “a huge amount of outside money” opposing his agenda.

Questioned for about 30 minutes on WNYC’s Brian Lehrer Show, de Blasio repeated the phrase “legal and appropriate,” as he has in recent days, to describe the conduct of his administration and associates.

“Look, I am trying to defend the interests of the people of New York City,” de Blasio said of his unsuccessful effort in 2014 to help Democrats take control of the GOP-controlled state senate.

De Blasio said “hedge-fund money” was deployed to stymie his plans for initiatives including universal prekindergarten and below-market-rate housing.

Prosecutors are examining whether the plan — which raised money for candidates in three competitive, upstate races — violated the law by funneling donations meant for the candidates through county committees. Several of de Blasio’s aides have been subpoenaed, de Blasio’s spokeswoman, Karen Hinton, said this week.

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