FBI Seizes NYC Mayor’s Electronic Devices in Fundraising Probe
As part of a federal investigation into campaign fundraising, FBI agents confiscated New York City Mayor Eric Adams’ cell phones and an iPad earlier this week. The move, authorized by a court warrant, marks a significant escalation in the probe, specifically examining potential foreign contributions to Adams’ campaign. The focus of the investigation, handled jointly by the FBI and the US attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York, revolves around allegations of foreign funding channels to the Democrat mayor’s campaign, particularly from entities associated with Turkey.
Although Mayor Adams hasn’t faced any allegations of misconduct at this stage, the recent seizure follows an FBI raid on the home of his chief fundraiser. The scrutiny revolves around whether Adams’ 2021 campaign colluded with a Brooklyn-based construction company to funnel foreign finances into the campaign’s coffers.
Adams, emphasizing a commitment to lawful cooperation, stated, “As a former member of law enforcement, I expect all members of my staff to follow the law and fully cooperate with any sort of investigation — and I will continue to do exactly that. I have nothing to hide.” However, both the US attorney’s office and the FBI declined to comment on the matter.
The mayor’s campaign attorney, Boyd Johnson, confirmed Adams’ immediate compliance with the FBI’s request for his electronic devices, indicating proactive cooperation upon learning of the federal investigation. Johnson reiterated the mayor’s lack of accusation regarding any wrongdoing and his ongoing cooperation with the inquiry.
The seizure of Adams’ devices took place shortly after an event at New York University, where FBI agents approached the mayor, presenting a warrant to seize his electronic equipment. This included an iPad, typically used for public remarks, and two phones.
In the aftermath of the raid on his fundraiser’s home, Adams ordered a review of campaign records, leading to the identification of improper conduct by an individual, which was promptly reported to investigators.
The investigation centers on potential foreign nationals’ involvement in “bundling” donations via US citizens of Turkish origin, ostensibly circumventing regulations that prohibit foreign contributions. This alleged scheme aims to mask foreign funds as donations from American citizens who did not actually contribute.
Adams, known for his ties to New York City’s Turkish-American community, has previously visited Turkey multiple times, including trips during his tenure as Brooklyn Borough president. The Turkish Consulate sponsored one of his trips in 2015, during which he signed a sister city agreement with Istanbul’s Üsküdar district.
The ongoing investigation draws parallels to previous cases, such as the charges brought against Senator Bob Menendez in September by the same US attorney’s office. In Menendez’s case, corruption-related offenses were alleged, focusing on purported bribes from the Egyptian government. Menendez maintained his innocence, pleading not guilty to the charges.
Amid these developments, Mayor Adams remains cooperative and asserts his commitment to the rule of law while navigating the evolving federal investigation into his campaign’s fundraising activities.