Elected officials will take all sorts of risks when it comes to raising money for their campaigns. Take the issue of straw donors, for example.
That's when a supporter tries to skirt campaign finance laws regarding maximum donations from an individual by writing a bunch of checks under different names to pad a preferred candidate's coffers.
How many politicians have run afoul of the law doing that?
Or what about the less-obvious illegality of pay-to-play? Say a big health care firm makes a hefty donation to a powerful elected official, and then all of a sudden it receives $25 million in state grants...oh wait, that's not a hypothetical, it's the situation Governor Andrew Cuomo finds himself in with upstate-based Crystal Run Healthcare.
Not exactly illegal, per se, but far from ethical.
Speaking of ethics, what about when a wealthy campaign contributor suddenly finds themselves embroiled in controversy, whether it's doing something illegal or, as is common these days, sexual harassment accusations.
How hard do some candidates try to justify holding on to the money?
Heck, even members of the Independent Democratic Conference, a group of breakaway Democrats who were so fed up with politics as usual in Albany that they decided until just recently to caucus with the Republicans, now find themselves in a campaign finance controversy.
When the IDC first started raising money for its candidates, it allegedly failed to file the proper paperwork, so now there are questions about whether the money they doled out to their members to run for re-election was legal.
But more than one of the former IDC members has gone on record stating they have no intention of returning the donations.
But everyone has their limits, right? Well, apparently that line in the sand is named Mayor Bill de Blasio.
The mayor is intent on helping the Democrats take back control of the State Senate in Albany, and to help with that cause he formed a national political action committee – the Fairness PAC - to raise money to spend in competitive races around the state.
There's just one snag: nobody wants his money.
So toxic is the mayor, that politicians and candidates in tight races who could use the help don't want the mayor's money. Let that sink in for a bit: politicians don't want the money.
According to a poll conducted by Politico, a majority of the 15 Democratic State Senate candidates running in competitive races in New York State said they would flat out refuse any money from de Blasio's Fairness PAC.
That is how unpopular Mayor Bill de Blasio has become.
Many have questioned why de Blasio would try to influence upstate elections, when he has stayed relatively quiet about the many challengers taking on former members of the IDC right here in New York City, a place where his endorsement might still sway an undecided voter or two.
Perhaps it's because de Blasio knows that the city is dependent on a large chunk of its budget from Albany, and backing a losing candidate against an incumbent could have political implications.
There's little for de Blasio to lose and everything to win as far as influence in Albany if he can do a political favor for a Democrat looking to unseat an upstate Republican.
But he has a lot to lose by strongly supporting a Democratic challenger to what is essentially already a Democratic-controlled State Senate seat, especially now that the IDC members are re-aligned with the Democratic Party.
But even some challengers to former IDC members want de Blasio's help. John Liu, who recently announced that he would be challenging State Senator Tony Avella this September, told Politico that the mayor was so unpopular in the northeast Queens district that having his backing would probably hurt his campaign.
De Blasio endorsed Avella when Liu challenged him in 2014 for the same seat and lost by a narrow margin.
“[De Blasio] mailed and phoned on Avella’s behalf in 2014, and I hope he does again this time around,” Liu was quoted as saying in the Politico piece. "I’ll leave it at that.”