According to yesterday’s New York Times, reporters found some glaring irregularities in City Comptroller John Liu’s election campaign – including apparently illegal fundraising practices.
The Times investigation consisted of canvassing the homes and businesses of people listed as donors to Liu’s campaign.
Some of the two dozen irregularities found include individuals who deny ever contributing, say others contributed for them, or seemed to not exist at all. There were several instances where reporters reviewed paperwork for multiple people which were all written in the same person’s handwriting.
One of those interviewed was Zhong Qun Tan, a garment worker from Gravesend, whose donor card listed her as a carpenter for a Queens construction company she had never heard of.
From the Times:
Two people who described attending banquets in which Mr. Liu appeared and posed for photos said that company executives who support him provided donations in the names of those in attendance.
In addition, Mr. Liu is not complying with some basic campaign finance laws: To protect against so-called straw donors, the city requires that donor cards submitted with campaign contributions be filled out only by the person making the donation. In numerous instances in Mr. Liu’s campaign, one person appears to have filled out cards for multiple donors.
His campaign is also engaging in bundling, in which well-connected individuals collect contributions for a candidate from friends, relatives and others, but Mr. Liu has not disclosed the bundlers’ names, as required.
Asked about the findings, Mr. Liu, 44, a Democrat, expressed bafflement and vowed to conduct an internal investigation.
“To the extent that there are problems — and I’m not suggesting there are — we cannot accept those contributions, nor do we need them,” Mr. Liu said.
Liu is the first and only Chinese-American elected to such an important citywide office.
He questioned the newspaper’s methods, suggesting that the donors they spoke with do not speak English well and are suspicious of strangers.
For their part, the piece’s authors insist many of the interviews were conducted in Mandarin.