After two former campaign associates were found guilty of attempted wire fraud in federal court on Thursday, John Liu said Friday that he is the one ultimately responsible for what happens in his campaign. The comptroller also said he still wants your vote for City Hall. NY1's Courtney Gross filed the following report.
A day after his former campaign treasurer and a former fundraiser were found guilty of attempted wire fraud, John Liu was back on the campaign trail.
"I've said from day 1 that I'm responsible at the end of the day for what happens in my campaign," Liu said.
The fraud convictions stem from a straw donor scheme. Straw donors are people who contribute to a campaign, but are reimbursed by someone else, skirting the city's campaign finance rules. Some of the illegal donations would have been eligible for public matching funds.
Liu said it was not his campaign's fault.
"My campaign has been lied to," he said.
He also defended his treasurer.
"I think she's a great person, and she will be an even better person after this whole experience," he said.
Some of those illegal donations are still in the comptroller's campaign account.
"We have a few thousand dollars of what appeared to be straw donations out of $3.5 million," he said. "We certainly will return those few thousand dollars of straw donations."
Under the circumstances, many doubt his prospects for City Hall now.
"His base is still solid in the Asian community and the African-American community, and he still could make a strong showing," said political consultant George Arzt. "Winning is very difficult."
The comptroller's ability to receive matching funds is at risk. He is eligible for $3 million in public money.
That is up to the Campaign Finance Board, who has denied funds to campaigns when fraudulent activity has been found.
It happened to Pedro Espada Jr.
"If the matching funds are, for whatever reason, not available to my campaign, then we'll open up the floodgates for a national fundraising campaign," Liu said.
It's clear that the comptroller is not letting the verdict stop his candidacy for mayor. In fact, he told NY1 that after Friday's event in the Bronx, he was having a fundraiser Friday evening.