John Liu to go ‘full steam ahead’ with campaign despite no matching funds

Photo courtesy of the Office of the New York City Comptroller

City Comptroller John Liu has vowed to go “full steam ahead” with his mayoral bid despite losing out on millions in funds.

The city’s Campaign Finance Board (CFB) on Monday denied Liu’s campaign public matching funds that could have doubled the approximately $3.5 million the candidate has raised so far.

Liu’s campaign was denied the funds “because there is reason to believe that violations of the Act and Board rules have been committed by his campaign,” said CFB Chair Father Joseph Parkes in a statement.

“The evidence suggests that the potential violations are serious and pervasive across the campaign’s fundraising,” he added.

“The [Campaign Finance Board] has chosen to make certain characterizations of my campaign–they are absolutely wrong in their characterization and we will utterly dispute and repudiate those kinds of comments,” said Liu in a statement released Monday evening.

In May, Jia “Jenny” Hou, who was Liu’s campaign treasurer, was found guilty of attempting to commit fraud, obstructing justice and making false statements.

Xing Wu “Oliver” Pan, who was a campaign fundraiser and contribution bundler for the Liu campaign, was convicted at the same time on charges of conspiring and attempting to commit fraud.

Though Liu has not been accused of any wrongdoing in connection to the case, the Board said the decision to deny matching funds doesn’t require the candidate to personally engage in misconduct.

“The candidate is ultimately responsible for the campaign’s compliance with the law,” said Parkes.

Under the Campaign Finance Program, candidates who agree to spending limits receive $6 for each dollar a city resident contributes, for a maximum public matching funds amount of $3,534,300, which Liu was expected to receive.

“Although we may not have the millions of dollars that the [Campaign Finance Board] has chosen to withhold from our campaign and from our donors, the strength of this campaign has never been just in the money — it’s always been in the people” said Liu. “And we’re going to draw upon that strength over the next five weeks throughout all five boroughs.”