Former Brooklyn D.A. Allegedly Used Drug Money For Campaign

By McCarton Ackerman 06/04/14

Charles Hynes used money seized from drug dealers to pay for a political consultant in a losing bid for re-election.

Charles hynes.jpg
Charles Hynes. Photo via

Former Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes has raised eyebrows after reportedly using more than $200,000 in seized drug money for an unsuccessful political campaign.

Hynes, who served as Brooklyn's D.A. for more than 20 years, was exposed in a recent city inquiry for paying a consulting firm $219,824 in 2012 and 2013 to help him run for his old position last year as a Republican. The money went to the firm of 89-year-old political consultant Mortimer Matz for “public relations and communications services rendered.” Funds that were seized from drug dealers and other criminal defendants were used to cover the costs, which is categorically not allowed. Investigators also found that from 2003-2013, the D.A.’s office paid the firm about $1.1 million from state asset forfeiture funds.

Justice Barry Kamins, then Brooklyn’s administrative judge, has also come under fire after the report from the Department of Investigations. They reviewed 300 emails sent and received by Kamins and Hynes, which “demonstrate that (Kamins) engaged in political activity as a sitting judge.” The emails showed that Kamins advised Hynes on how to attack his Democratic opponent, Kenneth Thompson, during debates in 2012 and also how to respond to negative news reports.

The report was referred to the office of state attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman and it’s possible that Hynes could face felony larceny charges. However, his reputation had already been damaged after several inmates were released last fall who had been wrongfully convicted of murder during his tenure. Reports also surfaced during that same time about alleged unlawful tactics employed by his office both during his tenure and his recent campaign run.

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McCarton Ackerman is a freelance writer and editor living in Portland, Oregon. He has been a contributor for The Fix since October 2011, writing on a wide range of topics ranging from medical marijuana in Colorado to the world's sexiest drug smugglers. Follow him on Linkedin and Twitter.