For such a normally loquacious man, City Comptroller John Liu was comparatively mum in today’s press release announcing he has ordered a “comprehensive independent review” of his campaign fundraising.
Liu, known for flooding the email boxes of City Hall reporters, offered just 9 words about the undertaking. “”I look forward to a thorough and prompt review,” he said.
The 60-day review will be conducted by Robert Abrams, a former state Attorney General now lawyer at the white shoe firm, Stroock, Stroock and Lavan. Abrams, notably, once called a political rival a “fascist,” and also has a building named after him in Albany.
Liu took on Mayor Bloomberg over the CityTime debacle in which payroll software contract ballooned from $68 million to more than $700 million, and resulted in a dozen arrests and a series of firings.
But those chickens came home to roost when the New York Times reported irregularities in his campaign books. Here’s the operative paragraph:
“Canvassing by The New York Times of nearly 100 homes and workplaces of donors listed on Mr. Liu’s campaign finance reports raises questions about the source and legitimacy of some donations, as well as whether some of the donors even exist. Some two dozen irregularities were uncovered, including instances in which people listed as having given to Mr. Liu say they never gave, say a boss or other Liu supporter gave for them, or could not be found altogether.”
“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.”
Liu told NY1 that his “campaign books are in order,” and appeared several weeks ago to be resisting hiring an outside auditor, saying it would be too expensive.