The NY Times has a front-page story on City Comptroller John Liu, the city's highest-ranking Asian (ever) and one of many Democrats eyeing a run for Mayor in 2013. Of course, the Times' article claims that while Liu has raised over $1 million in the first half of 2011, "much about Mr. Liu’s campaign money that does not add up."
The Times reports, "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."
Also, the Times says, "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."
Liu pushed for more donations from Asian contributors by asking for $800, which the Daily News pointed out is less than the $4,950 max he could have asked for (candidates get $6 in public funds for every $1 they raise. However, the Times asked one company, where some employees, including a janitor, at one company decided to each give $800, about the donations because all of the donations were listed at the owner's home: "[Meng Jia] Wang initially said that the donors were his employees and subcontractors who had attended a fund-raising event for Mr. Liu and that he had permitted them to list his address because their English was not good." But then his secretary "offered a different account from Mr. Wang’s, saying that there was no fund-raising event, but that the employees decided together, over lunch one day, to make out checks to the Liu campaign, and sent it in one package."
Liu, who has a lot of support from unions and is disliked by the Post (which made fun of Liu for not agreeing to give the Times fund-raising info unless the paper "focused heavily on him"), said his team has done nothing wrong, telling WNYC, "We have copies of signed checks, and signed donor forms by each of these donors It's unclear to me how the interviews were conducted by the Times. Nonetheless the donors in question will be further reviewed by my campaign."
Liu also told the Times, "I’m responsible for my own campaign. To the extent that I think something has been done wrong, or people engaged in behavior that broke my rules, we’ll reverse anything."