Letter to Attorney General Schneiderman Regarding the Manhattan DA

October 4, 2017

Attorney General Eric Schneiderman
Office of the Attorney General
The Capitol
Albany, NY 12224-0341

Dear Attorney General Schneiderman:

Public corruption is a stain on any elected official but it is particularly disturbing when the official himself is entrusted by the public to prosecute wrongdoing. A district attorney must not only adhere to the laws that govern public officials, but be held to a higher standard. Today’s revelations, if proven accurate, make clear that Manhattan DA Cy Vance has at the very least, failed to live up to that higher standard.

Per the article jointly published by The New Yorker, Pro Publica and WNYC, this is what we know. For two years, the Manhattan DA’s Major Economic Crimes Bureau investigated Donald Trump, Jr. and Ivanka Trump for fraud. According to the attorneys who conducted the investigation, there “couldn’t have [been] a better email trail,” linking the Trumps to a crime. After receiving a $25,000 campaign donation from the infamous Trump family attorney Marc Kasowitz, a meeting was scheduled between Kasowitz and Vance. Before the meeting took place, that donation was returned. DA Vance held the meeting, excluding the senior prosecutors who had been investigating the matter. A few months later, the investigation ended with no charges filed. Shortly thereafter, Kasowitz raised over $50,000 for DA Vance’s campaign fund, immediately becoming one of Vance’s largest donors.

In a March 16, 2017 letter to the New York State Board of Elections, DA Vance set the following standard for investigating campaign finance irregularities:

The transactions appear contrary to the intent and spirit of the laws that impose candidate contribution limits, laws which are meant to prevent “corruption and the appearance of corruption” in the campaign financing process.

Per DA Vance’s own standards, his conduct simply must be investigated. Based on the information revealed today, it is incumbent upon the Attorney General to investigate District Attorney Vance for his role in choosing not to prosecute Ivanka Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. The people of Manhattan have a right to know whether their District Attorney is being unduly influenced by campaign donations.

Sincerely,
Dan Quart
Assemblymember
73rd AD