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Fundraising Controversy Cuts Liu's Approval Rating, But Campaign Continues

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TWC News: Fundraising Controversy Cuts Liu's Approval Rating, But Campaign Continues
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City Comptroller John Liu spoke out at an event in Flushing, Queens Friday and said that his potential campaign for mayor is continuing to raise money despite an investigation by the U.S. Attorney's Office. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.

City Comptroller John Liu was talking about the economy when he said “this has been quite a challenging year,” but he could have been discussing his political future.

Liu's potential campaign for mayor is under investigation by the United States Attorney's Office, an inquiry that has already resulted in the arrest of one of his fundraisers.

The U.S. attorney is reportedly questioning other Liu donors and those who collect donations for him.

When asked whether the inquiry was expanding at a holiday party in Flushing on Friday, Liu said, "You're asking me if it's true. How am I supposed to know if it's true? It's a Times story. Let's be fair."

Last month, Xing Wu Pan, also known as Oliver Pan, was arrested for wire fraud in connection with Liu's campaign. He was approached by an undercover FBI agent who wanted to donate $16,000 to Liu, which is more than three times the legal limit.

He told the agent he would set up a series of straw donors to get Liu the money.

Since then, Liu, who oversees the city's pension system, has seen his approval rating plummet. He has not been implicated in any wrongdoing.

Liu is also taking heat for failing to release a list of people who collect donations for him, otherwise known as bundlers. His campaign said it would do so earlier this month.

“We are doing it as quickly as possible,” said Liu. “We’re preparing the bundler information and we’ll release that as soon as possible, and it will be thorough and complete."

Liu said he is still raising money.

He already has more than $1.5 million in the bank for a 2013 run. The vast majority of those contributions are $800 each and come from the city's Chinese community.

Twelve employees from a Flushing market, some who identified themselves as cashiers, each gave $800 to Liu's 2013 campaign.

Some have questioned the legitimacy of similar donations.

Liu said, "There is an investigation that my office is fully cooperating with and we will continue to cooperate. If they choose to question more people, it is certainly their right.”

Despite the ongoing investigation, Comptroller Liu is still keeping a very hectic public schedule. Following the event in Flushing, Liu was scheduled to attend five more holiday parties, ending his Friday in Greenpoint.

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