Sunday, April 20, 2014

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NY1 Political Director Bob Hardt's daily look Inside City Hall.

NY1 ItCH: A Day Of Reckoning For John Liu

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Finally in this election season– some bad news for a mayoral candidate besides Anthony Weiner!

In the wake of a fundraising scandal that resulted in the conviction of his former campaign treasurer, the other giant shoe is expected to drop today on John Liu's mayoral hopes when the city's Campaign Finance Board meets this morning to determine which candidates should receive public matching funds.

Under the generous public financing program, eligible candidates get six dollars for every dollar they raise for donations of up to $175 from city residents. Liu, who has raised roughly $3.4 million, was hoping to get about $3 million from the finance board – allowing him to spend the legal limit of $6.4 million for the Sept. 10th primary. But with questions hovering about the legitimacy of some of those donations, the board at the very least is expected to delay awarding any money to Liu.

With Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson, Bill de Blasio, and Anthony Weiner all set to get plenty of matching funds, this would put Liu at a huge competitive disadvantage in the final month of the primary campaign. While he has worked as hard – if not harder – than any of his rivals, Liu's elbow grease probably isn't worth an extra $3 million in ads that each of his opponents will have to buy.

While the dynamics of the race are still churning, August is turning into a cruel month for Weiner and Liu: allowing Bill de Blasio to make a final push to try to get into the top tier of a race that will very likely end up in a runoff. In a hot summer, you don't want public financing to dry up. Just ask John Liu.

Bob Hardt

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