Ethics complaint filed over de Blasio's use of NYC photo in 2020 ad

An ethics complaint was reportedly filed Thursday against New York City Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioProtesters splash red paint on NYC streets to symbolize blood De Blasio: Robert E Lee’s ‘name should be taken off everything in America, period’ House Democratic whip pushes back on calls to defund police: We need to focus on reform MORE (D) after he used an official city photo for his presidential campaign.

The photo, which was posted on de Blasio’s Instagram account — which he has used as a platform to promote his White House run — shows the mayor standing in front of a crowd at the 2017 Global Citizen Festival in Central Park, the New York Daily News reported.

The image was reportedly taken by the Mayoral Photography Office and appears to have since been deleted.

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The complaint was filed with the city’s Conflicts of Interest Board and alleges that the mayor “is using a city paid for photo … in Paid for Sponsored ads on Instagram to fundraise for his Presidential campaign,” the Daily News reported.


It wasn’t immediately clear who filed the complaint. The board’s assistant counsel, Chad Gholizadeh, told the Daily News that he couldn’t discuss information about specific complaints.

According to the city’s charter, public servants are barred from using “City letterhead, personnel, equipment, resources, or supplies for any non-City purpose” and can only use these resources if the Conflicts of Interest Board approves it.

Gholizadeh told the Daily News that public servants are able to use nonconfidential photos “or other non-confidential public documents produced by the City for a private purpose so long as that public servant obtains those City photographs or documents through the same process as any member of the public.”

In a statement to The Hill, de Blasio’s national press secretary Jaclyn Rothenberg maintained that “city photos are public and allowed to be used.”

“City photos are made available to the general public through the Mayor’s Flickr account, and therefore can be accessed by political campaigns on the same terms as the general public,” she said.

Some of de Blasio’s previous ads have reportedly included footage from taxpayer-funded videos of his public events, according to the Daily News.

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