As comptroller, Liu (left) oversees a city budget of $66 billion and a pension fund nearly double that size. The post also affords him inside information and access to movers and shakers in a city that remains one of the world’s leading centers of business, finance, media, and communications.
While the news media continue to overlook the obvious national security dangers posed by John Liu’s political ties to Beijing (see out articles listed below), his campaign-finance violations have been too blatant to be ignored. As we reported in October and December of last year, Liu suffered a series of scandals, including the arrest of his top fundraiser, Xing Wu “Oliver” Pan, for illegal funneling funds to Liu’s campaign through “straw donors.”
In February of this year Liu’s campaign treasurer, Jia “Jenny” Hou, was arrested and charged in a federal indictment for multiple counts of campaign fraud and obstruction of justice. Conviction of the charges carries a potential prison sentence of 60 years. The feds have also subpoenaed emails and records of several other key operatives in Liu’s campaign: Mei-Hua Ru, who was Liu’s 2009 campaign treasurer and then followed him into the comptroller’s office, where she now serves as his scheduler; attorney Hugh Mo; supermarket magnate Jeff Wu; businessman Cheng Rui Lu; and Korean activist Chel Dong Chang.
Through the ongoing onslaught of political scandals, John Kiu has continued to offer vague excuses and insist that his political train will not be derailed. But some seasoned political observers think it has already gone off the tracks. The New York Post reported on March 10 that Liu’s campaign still listed the arrested Jia “Jenny” Hou as treasurer.<.p>
The Post reported:
The fact that Hou is still Liu’s treasurer had politicos shaking their heads.
“I’m at a loss for words,” said consultant Scott Levenson.
Another political operative who handles campaign finances said it’s laughable that Liu, the city’s chief financial officer, has not replaced Hou nearly two weeks after her arrest.
“There are expenses that have to be covered. Who is signing those checks? What we need is much more transparency,’’ said the source. “If the bills aren’t being paid for two weeks, then, in effect, Liu has suspended his campaign."
Photo of John Liu: AP Images