Comptroller John Liu Gives Back His Campaign’s Dirty Cash


With the primaries in four months, this is probably a good idea.

By now, the controversy over John Liu’s run for comptroller in 2010 is an old wives’ tale in recent New York City scandal history. His campaign’s treasurer and one of its fundraisers set up straw donors–which is when a person illegally taps into another person’s cash funds and makes donations in their name. By doing so, they paid themselves thousands in fraudulent kickbacks. But don’t worry: Kustice was served earlier this month when the two were found guilty of campaign fraud in federal court.

As damage control, Liu has been trying to distance himself from that story since it happened, stating time and time again that he had no part in the scheme and could not have known about it. Naturally, the mayoral race has kicked that PR effort into high gear. According to his most recent campaign filings, it’s been discovered that Liu refunded every cent in his fundraising treasure chest left over from the scandal.

Lie has returned $14,000 from 29 donations (ranging from $50 to $1,000) and a ton of unnecessary stress. The targets were all implicated in the trial and, although the refunded donations weren’t all from the straw donor scandal, Liu’s lawyer announced that a solid majority of them were.

In recent weeks, his campaign has blown past the $1 million mark and continues to grow in funds, extrapolating widespread support from Asian-American communities across the five boroughs. Luckily for Liu, that $14,000 appears to be a more symbolic gesture.

Good riddance.