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Comptroller Liu Continues To Court Donors Despite Investigation Into Campaign Account

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TWC News: Comptroller Liu Continues To Court Donors Despite Investigation Into Campaign Account
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City Comptroller John Liu's campaign account may be the subject of a federal investigation, but he isn't staying out of the spotlight. NY1’s Courtney Gross takes a look back at how the comptroller has spent his time since taking office and who he has been meeting with, including campaign donors.

Comptroller John Liu takes his schedule very seriously.

In two years, the comptroller and potential mayoral candidate has spent more than 16 percent of his workday courting politicians and community groups.

"We do what we need to do in the office, but also get out as much as possible into the community, whether it be to hold town hall meetings or attend events like this for a few minutes a day to understand what people are going through," said Liu.

Some of those people are donors.

In July, a New Jersey-based software executive gave $800 to Liu.

A month later, the executive was sitting down with the comptroller. A spokesman could not provide details of the meeting.

In a statement, he said: "It would be a flagrant mistake to suggest that there is any synthesis of official business and the campaign."

This isn't the first time Liu met with donors on city time. During his first two years in office, he met with one of his bundlers, Hugh Mo, twice.

Outside the office, Liu's work week is full of visits to senior citizens—whether or not they're collecting a city pension—and ribbon-cuttings.

He cut the ribbon at one restaurant in Chinatown, where its president gave $800 to Liu.

He is a regular at a nonprofit group whose head raised more than $18,000 for the comptroller.

Observers say these events aren't out of the ordinary.

"To the extent that this office is political, we should not be surprised that people in those offices do political things," said David Birdsell of Baruch College.

The comptroller cut the ribbon at a funeral home. Its president has raised $7,000 for Liu's 2013 campaign.

"I am privileged to be invited by people and organizations from all over the city. And I am hoping that I’ve got the most number of public events than any elected official this city has,” said Liu.

There is no question Liu is trying to raise his profile citywide, and these events are maybe a part of that effort—all potentially done with an eye on City Hall.

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