NYC Council Bill Would Ban Political Consultants, Fundraisers From Lobbying Former Clients

NEW YORK (New York Daily News/TNS) — A new City Council bill is seeking to ban political fundraisers and campaign consultants from lobbying their former bosses for two years after those politicians take office, the Daily News has learned.

The legislation, which is being sponsored by Council members Gale Brewer, D-Manhattan, and Lincoln Restler, D-Brooklyn, is expected to be introduced Thursday at the lawmaking body’s full meeting.

The aim of the bill, according to Restler, is to end the advantage consultants and fundraisers gain when the candidate they back takes office and becomes the target of their lobbying.

“People are now able to cash in on their political influence and positions on campaigns,” he said. “That’s wildly unethical.”

Two of the most notable people who could be impacted by the new bill are Mayor Eric Adams’ longtime compliance attorney, Vito Pitta, and the top fundraiser for his 2021 campaign, Brianna Suggs, whose home was raided by federal investigators in November as part of their probe into the campaign’s ties to Turkey.

Suggs’ firm, Brianna Suggs and Associates, was hired by the East Broadway Mall in 2022 to lobby City Hall to get a lease on a city-owned building renewed, according to state records. Those efforts, which took place during Adams’ first year at Gracie Mansion, began shortly after she’d helped raise $18.4 million for his 2021 campaign, according to her LinkedIn profile.

Suggs does not appear to be lobbying for anyone currently, city and state records show.

Under the bill being floated by Restler and Brewer, the type of activity she engaged in would be banned for two years after the candidate who was elected took office.

Similarly, some of Pitta’s lobbying since Adams’ ascent could be prohibited.

Pitta, a partner at two Manhattan law firms and a top executive at a prominent city lobbying firm, began pulling a paycheck from Adams’ 2021 campaign in 2018 to oversee fundraising compliance. He also currently serves as the compliance attorney for the mayor’s 2025 campaign.

After Adams was sworn in, Pitta’s government relations firm, Pitta Bishop & Del Giorno, lobbied Adams’ administration on behalf of a variety of clients that include the Correction Officers’ Benevolent Association, the Lieutenants Benevolent Association and the Richmond University Medical Center, city records show.

Brewer told The News the bill she’s sponsoring is inspired in part by personal experience — and by the type of conflicts she wants to avoid as an elected official.

“I have campaign people. I don’t want them lobbying me. That would be a real conflict of interest,” she said. “I would feel very uncomfortable. I would feel like, what am I? Am I political? Or am I government?”

If enacted, violations of the proposed provisions could result in fines between $2,500 for initial infractions and up to $30,000 for subsequent violations.

The bill is one of three Restler is pushing to place restrictions on lobbying activity.

The other two bills would prohibit former elected officials from lobbying city agencies for two years after their exit from public office and ban certain municipal employees from lobbying any city agency for one year and the agency they served for two years.

Those bills — and the latest legislation from Brewer and Restler — will be the focus of a City Council hearing next Friday.

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