A federal investigation of City Comptroller John Liu is making waves in the city's Asian American communities, and now civic leaders have formed a new alliance in response. NY1’s Courtney Gross filed the following report.
Comptroller John Liu's campaign finance scandal has ripple effects.
"A Chinese-owned business person called me to see if it was legally okay for him to make a campaign contribution to one of the candidates for mayor. And I thought to myself, there is something very wrong when someone has to call their lawyer to see if it's okay to make a campaign contribution," said attorney Bruce Feffer.
So, Asian American civic leaders have formed a new alliance to respond to the federal investigation of the comptroller and to educate their communities.
"We feel there is a need to educate people who want to do different things in terms of contributing to campaigns or in terms of helping raise money," said Cao K. O of the Asian American Federation.
The alliance plans to start a legal hotline and hold community workshops on the dos and don'ts of donating.
Civic leaders in Chinatown say the new alliance goes beyond the comptroller's fundraising scandal. The Asian population in New York City is growing, and because of that, they say they need to be better educated on city politics and the city's campaign finance laws.
"The alliance for the moment is concerned about engaging more Asian Americans in the city's political processes,” said Sayu Bhojwani of the New American Leaders Project.
The comptroller is not involved with the group, but he endorses their move.
"Obviously there are lots of things that people do need to learn: registering to vote, helping out with campaigns, making political contributions,” said Liu.
Liu has been under fire since one of his fundraisers was accused of setting up a straw donor scheme.
Since then, civic leaders say people in Chinatown, Flushing or elsewhere have been scared to donate.
"I always make it very clear to anybody who wants to help with my campaign or any campaign that people should get involved, but people should only do things they are 100 percent comfortable with," said Liu.
The comptroller is expected to release his latest campaign finance filings next week.