07 Aug 2013

John Liu Robbed of Matching Funds — Best Way to Respond

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Dear Friend,

The Campaign Finance Board decided this week not only to take away millions of our Campaign funds, but to deny thousands of New Yorkers of their ability to leverage their own dollars, under the CFB’s own rules.

Nonetheless, we are not derailed and are full steam ahead!

Yes, the 5-person Board sent a terrible message when deeming their contributions as not worthy as any other fellow New Yorker’s contribution. Since many have asked what to do about it right now: a donation from you today to “match” a similarly-sized one would make an even stronger statement.

Won’t you consider making a $50, $100 or $175 contribution today?

Our campaign has had the highest proportion of small donors from all over the City than any other mayoral campaign. We also have the distinct honor of being the very first political campaign to which many have ever made a donation in their life. Some have job titles that others may think doesn’t give them the wherewithal to be able to contribute to a political campaign.

But they did, and are now politically engaged because of it.

Calls have already resumed to raise the necessary funds in light of the CFB’s decision. But the biggest assets to John Liu’s campaigns have never been just about the money, it’s always been about the people. So the more they come at him, the harder we’ll push.

John has already lapped our rivals many times over in taking this campaign directly to the people (see this very cool interactive map of the candidates’ tracks). But now with a leaner Campaign, John says, “We’re going to have to beef up the schedule now. We are not playing anymore.” We’re ready to dig deep, reach the voters and bring them out on September 10th.

And when we win the elections, you know we’ll hit the ground running on Day One.

NY1 FULL VIDEO INTERVIEW: “Road to City Hall” – 8/5/2013

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS EDITORIAL: “What Liu is due; Campaign Finance Board came down too hard on controller’s mayoral run” – 8/7/2013
EXCERPTS – But by imposing such a harsh penalty, the board has also wounded itself and the highly praised program it administers. That is what it did in this case: not with one-fifth of Liu’s donations, not with half, but with all, refusing Liu’s campaign every last public dollar and putting him at a profound competitive disadvantage vis-a-vis his opponents.

It was fair to suspect improprieties here. Back in May, Liu’s one-time campaign treasurer and a donor were convicted of federal wire fraud charges. But suspicion does not equal substantiation. John Liu’s campaign deserved, even demanded, a serious scrubbing. That’s not what the Campaign Finance Board delivered.

WALL STREET JOURNAL: “Liu ‘disappointed’ over denial of matching funds” – 8/5/2013
EXCERPTS – A defiant Liu said he was “disappointed” in the board’s decision but vowed to continue his mayoral bid. “I have taken body blow after body blow but there is not going to be a knockout here.”

WNBC: “NYC Campaign Finance Board Denies Matching Funds to John Liu” – 8/5/2013
EXCERPTS – About 150 chanting demonstrators, many pro-Liu, clogged the street outside the campaign finance headquarters before the hearing. Many held Liu campaign signs and wore orange Liu shirts. “I think they are going after John Liu because he is a threat to the establishment,” said Maureen Pyne, a 74-year-old retired teacher who lives in Manhattan. “Liu’s supporters’ money should count like anyone else’s. This is so unfair,” said Jack Zhang, 17, one of many Queens high school students who attended the protest.

WABC: “John Liu denied matching public funding for mayoral campaign” – 8/5/2013
EXCERPTS – Liu, an actuary with a bachelor’s degree in mathematical physics, has said his campaign has complied with all requirements. Before launching his mayoral bid, the Taiwan-born politician already was the first person of Asian descent to be elected citywide in New York. “Come here, work hard, dream big, and work even harder, and if you do all that, you have a chance to make good,” he said in March while formally announcing his candidacy.

WCBS: “Liu Denied Public Matching Funds For Campaign Due To ‘Substantial Evidence’ Of Wrongdoing” – 8/5/2013
EXCERPTS – The candidate was never charged with any wrongdoing, but the case racked up enormous legal fees for his campaign and, in his own estimation, has affected his image. “I have a new nickname: ‘the embattled comptroller,'” he once said at a rally. “Well, let me say this: I am ready, willing and able to go into battle for what I think is right for the city of New York.”

WALL STREET JOURNAL: “Liu’s Campaign is Denied Public Funds, A Severe Blow” – 8/5/2013
EXCERPTS – “I support John Liu, I gave him $175,” said Peter Killen, 75, a retired New York police detective who lives in Staten Island. “The finance board should allow my money to be matched.” Like other supporters, Mr. Killen, holding a sign that declared “Match my money!!! Make mine count,” blamed Mayor Michael Bloomberg and City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, another mayoral candidate, both of whom have made appointments to the board.

CAPITAL NEW YORK: “John Liu blocked from getting millions in matching funds” – 8/5/2013
EXCERPT – In Connor’s nearly 20-minute speech to the NYCCFB, he depicted Liu as a victim of irregular campaign enforcement tactics, encouraged by overzealous prosecutors and a complicit media. And Connor, a longtime elected representative of Lower Manhattan and brownstone Brooklyn, accused campaign critics of effective profiling Liu contributors who made donations in cash because they lived in public housing or were otherwise identified because of their circumstances as unlikely donors. Connor called it “economic discrimination.”

CRAIN’S NEW YORK BUSINESS: “Liu denied $3.5M in matching funds” – 8/5/2013
EXCERPT – [Mr. Connor] also called the board’s suggestion that working-class Asian immigrants were unlikely donors to Mr. Liu’s campaign based on their jobs or living situation a form of “economic discrimination.”