Late Wednesday, just hours before the national holiday of Thanksgiving began, the Mayor’s office released a batch of approximately 1,500 emails between Bill de Blasio and Jonathan Rosen of the Berlin Rosen public relations firm, The Wall Street Journal reports.
The emails were made public in response to a lawsuit filed by the New York Post and NY1 News, asking for the release of all emails between City Hall and Rosen, as well as emails with four other unofficial advisors.
The law holds that emails between government officials and private citizens are public, but City Hall has tried to skirt that by saying the five private citizens are “agents of the city.”
Supposedly, the de Blasio administration wants to keep the emails under wraps because they are gossip-y and embarrassing. De Blasio says that the unreleased emails don’t concern any of Rosen’s clients and are about private advice to the mayor. In the words of spokesman Eric Phillips, they are “truly deliberative” and therefore their release would not be to the public’s benefit.
Some of the released emails show de Blasio and Rosen exchanging contacts. One chain concerns the mayor’s failed bid to host the Democratic National Convention this year, an effort Rosen apparently assisted.
City Democrats may be having flashbacks to the several email scandals that plagued de Blasio’s old boss, Hillary Clinton, during the 2016 presidential campaign. The administration would be well-advised to avoid the “appearance of misconduct” that ultimately helped doomed Clinton.