John Liu has hit another stumbling block in in a bid to become New York’s first Asian-American mayor. The city’s Campaign Finance Board has denied Liu public matching funds to the tune of $3.5 million. Liu already trails the rest of the Democratic mayoral candidates, and the latest fallout from his 2011 election as comptroller is not going to help matters.
Liu has been bringing up the rear throughout the race to the Democratic primaries in September for many reasons, not the least of which being his relatively sluggish fundraising compared to his competitors.
But of all the Democratic candidates, Liu was eligible for the largest amount of public matching funds because of the number of small donations to his campaign (for every $1 of donations a campaign receives amounting to $175 or less, the city provides $6 in public money.)
Liu’s lawyer, Martin Connor, is crying foul, saying in a statement that this morning’s decision by the board was “the death penalty for a minor transgression.”
In 2011 Liu’s campaign was found to have improperly collected numerous donations, with issues ranging from a single person signing multiple donor cards to one fundraiser’s use of straw donors to artificially inflate the funds eligible for public matching. Two of his campaign workers were recently convicted.
An appeal is planned. Liu announced a press conference for later this afternoon to fully address the board’s decision.