DraftKings Subpoenaed by US Authorities Investigating New York Lobbyist’s Circle

A lobbyist in New York with ties to the gaming industry is under scrutiny by federal regulators. The office of the US attorney in the Southern District of New York, through its public corruption unit, is reportedly investigating Patrick Jenkins, according to the New York Times (NYT), but hasn’t provided any specific details regarding the motive behind the investigation. Jenkins, a former aide to current New York, Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie, is said to have links with DraftKings, FanDuel, the NBA, MLB, The Stars Group, and others, and at least two of his gaming clients have been subpoenaed as part of the investigation.

Another New York Political Corruption Scandal

The NYT asserts that Jenkins is a “longtime friend” of Heastie, pointing out that his practice, Patrick B. Jenkins & Associates, “has flourished” during the Speaker’s tenure. That firm is connected to a number of political individuals and groups and is said to be one of the most influential on the Democratic political scene. Jenkins is reportedly not the target of the investigation, but subpoenas have been sent to many of his clients, including DraftKings and del Lago Resort & Casino. As with Jenkins, those entities don’t appear to be targets of the investigation but might play a role in determining wrongdoing on the part of some high-ranking government official in New York. Communications between Jenkins’ firm and its clients, as well as any contracts, have also been subpoenaed.

In addition to the gaming companies with which Jenkins is tied, there are also a number of big businesses operating in New York, as well as the rest of the country. Among these are Uber, CVS Health, Charter Communications, Union of Orthodox Jewish Congregations of America, KPMG, Ernst & Young and PricewaterhouseCoopers. However, no information was released on whether any of these had received a subpoena. At least 24 of Jenkins’ clients have confirmed that they were not officially contacted as part of the investigation.

Jenkins and a History of Questions

According to public records, Jenkins’ firm was paid over $3.22 million in compensation in 2019, a substantial increase from the $37,500 it had received in 2014. Heastie became the Assembly Speaker in 2015, and, in 2016, his campaign was paying Jenkins $4,000 a month. Some have drawn ties between the appointment and the compensation. Jenkins was working as a lobbyist and a political consultant simultaneously and, while this isn’t illegal, it’s a practice that government watchdogs would prefer not to happen.

A report published by the Times Union of Albany in 2019 accused Jenkins of providing campaign work to Democratic lawmakers, including fund-raising while lobbying the New York State Legislature for his clients. He reportedly provided the campaign work for free, but Jenkins asserted at the time that he had always expected to be paid by the lawmakers. Jenkins has also previously worked for Representative Gregory W. Meeks, as well as on the campaigns of New York’s former Governor Eliot Spitzer and its current governor, Andrew Cuomo.