Wednesday, March 12, 2014

John Liu sues New York City for blocking public matching campaign funds

"John Liu's campaign did nothing wrong," says lawyer Richard Emery.

John Liu, the former Comptroller for New York City, filed a federal lawsuit today against the City of New York, alleging that he was "denied the opportunity to compete on an even playing field with the other mayoral candidates, and his reputation was irreparably damaged," The New York Post is reporting, adding, that the Campaign Finance Board's decision to deny Mr. Liu $3.8 million in matching public dollars amounted to a “death sentence” to his mayoral campaign.

Mr. Liu's complaint alleges that the Campaign Finance Board unlawfully “crippled” his bid to become the city’s first Asian-American mayor by citing the court convictions of others, even though Mr. Liu himself was never charged with any wrong-doing.

The investigation into Mr. Liu's campaign finances originated in a report published in 2011 by The New York Times at a time when Mr. Liu was attracting serious attention and support for his expected mayoral campaign in 2013. Many activists have alleged that the editors of The New York Times preferred the mayoral candidacy of former City Council Speaker Christine Quinn. After the Campaign Finance Board denied Mr. Liu's public matching funding dollars, former Speaker Quinn received the glowing endorsement of The New York Times' editorial board.

In a further example of the politicization of the Campaign Finance Board, city campaign finance regulators appeared to obsess over Mr. Liu's troubled donations, identified as only 35 out of over 6,300 donations, but city campaign finance regulators did nothing to scrutinize the corruptive influence of super PAC's in the 2013 municipal election.

In a video made last year by The Queens Courier, Mr. Liu described how investigators deceived his campaign workers into accepting tainted donations. Essentially, he was the victim of entrapment.

2014-03-12 John Liu v NYC Campaign Finance Board - USDC-SDNY COMPLAINT (Stamped Copy) by Connaissable


With John Liu's lawsuit against New York City over conflicted city campaign finance regulators, this makes three federal referrals of elections violations, forcing Mayor de Blasio to lawyer-up, recruit special inside election counsel.

After a wave of federal complaints that have been lodged over electioneering violations in last year's municipal elections, Mayor Bill de Blasio has hired a special legal advisor specializing in election law.

Since Mayor de Blasio and City Council Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, and/or their political operatives, are entangled in some of these federal complaints, it should come as no surprise that Mayor de Blasio is now maneuvering to use his public office to defend himself against allegations of wrong-doing that took place during the electioneering of last year's municipal elections.

The three federal complaints lodged following last year's municipal elections :

  1. GOP consultant E. O'Brien Murray argued to the State Department that Patrick Gaspard, a former top White House aide with a deep history in Gotham politics, violated the federal Hatch Act by getting involved in Mayor de Blasio's campaign -- and City Councilwoman Melissa Mark-Viverito's subsequent election as speaker -- while representing the U.S. in South Africa. (GOP Operative Files Hatch Act Complaint Against U.S. Ambassador Patrick Gaspard * The New York Daily News)
  2. Louis Flores, a local political gadfly who ran a blog and wrote a book criticizing Christine Quinn, has filed a complaint with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara’s criminal division against Scott Levenson and The Advance Group consulting firm, which came under deep scrutiny during the mayoral campaign. (Federal Complaint Filed Against The Advance Group for Election Work * Politicker)
  3. Former New York City Comptroller and failed mayoral candidate John Liu has filed a federal lawsuit against the city and its Campaign Finance Board. He says the board unfairly crippled his campaign by denying him matching funds in last year's race for mayor. (Ex-NYC mayor hopeful sues Campaign Finance Board * AP/The San Francisco Chronicle)


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