Three months after his arrest, Xing Wu Pan was indicted yesterday on wired fraud charges related to his fundraising for City Comptroller John Liu. This comes at a bad time for Liu, a mayoral hopeful, who is giving his State of the City Address today. Yesterday, when he was asked about Pan's indictment, Liu said, "This is the first I'm hearing about it."
The feds accuse Pan of illegal tactics to funnel donations to Liu's mayoral war chest by using straw donors. What makes it extra sticky is that city candidates get matching money from the city. Liu, who has refunded the sketchy donations, hasn't been charged and has denied knowing about the wrongdoing.
In his speech today, Liu discussed increasing economic equality, rolling back the city taxes (by an unspecified amount) if revenues do better, and reducing pension costs. But before his address—which apparently was the first ever by a Comptroller in recent memory—there was a lion dance and a "riveting gospel choir."
As for Liu's future, political consultant Hank Sheinkopf told the Wall Street Journal, "This is New York. So, anything can happen. Could he still run for mayor? The answer is: Yes. Would he be successful? Probably not. Can he run for re-election is the larger issue. That depends significantly on what the investigation reveals."