Federal investigators are now looking at City Comptroller John Liu's fundraising, to see whether people he listed as campaign donors actually donated. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
A month after a damaging report on his campaign contributions, City Comptroller John Liu has now caught the eye of the U.S. attorney's office.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District Preet Bharara is probing the comptroller's campaign account.
An investigation by the New York Times found some of Liu's donors, like the Dynasty Corp. in Queens, denied ever giving to the comptroller. Other donors could not be found at all.
Now with the U.S. attorney's involvement, more serious allegations could arise.
Similar investigations into the campaign accounts of other politicians, like former City Councilman Sheldon Leffler, have resulted in fraud charges. In that case, Leffler was sentenced to five years' probation for falsifying campaign contributions so they could be eligible for public matching funds.
Under the city's campaign finance system, only small contributions are matched with public dollars.
Last month, Liu committed to get down to the bottom of the scandal on Inside City Hall.
"I’m proud of the way we’ve run our campaign thus far, but if there are any issues, I intend to get to the bottom of them," Liu said.
In response to the scandal, Liu provided copies of personal checks written out to his campaign to NY1.
The comptroller also tapped former State Attorney General Bob Abrams to conduct an investigation into his account.
Abrams says that investigation will likely be complete by the end of the year.
Liu is eyeing a mayoral run and is considered one of the top contenders for City Hall. He has already raised more than $1.5 million for a prospective run.