Monday, 24 October 2011

Communist Ties and Donor Scandal Dog John Liu's NYC Mayoral Bid

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New York City's Comptroller, John Liu (left), long touted as a top-tier candidate to be the city's next mayor, has hit some stumbling blocks.  Liu, the first Asian-American elected to citywide office, raised more than one million dollars in campaign donations in the first half of 2011, but the source of much of that political war chest is now being questioned. In an October 11 front-page story, the New York Times, which has in the past been a big booster of Liu, reports that its investigation of Liu's donors has uncovered troubling irregularities. The Times story by Raymond Hernandez and David W. Chen reports:

"Canvassing by The New York Times of nearly 100 homes and workplaces of donors listed on Mr. Liu's campaign finance reports raises questions about the source and legitimacy of some donations, as well as whether some of the donors even exist. Some two dozen irregularities were uncovered, including instances in which people listed as having given to Mr. Liu say they never gave, say a boss or other Liu supporter gave for them, or could not be found altogether." The story continues:

Two people who described attending banquets in which Mr. Liu appeared and posed for photos said that company executives who support him provided donations in the names of those in attendance.

"In addition," says the Times piece,  "Mr. Liu is not complying with some basic campaign finance laws: To protect against so-called straw donors, the city requires that donor cards submitted with campaign contributions be filled out only by the person making the donation. In numerous instances in Mr. Liu's campaign, one person appears to have filled out cards for multiple donors."

Moreover, reports the Times investigation, his campaign "is also engaging in bundling, in which well-connected individuals collect contributions for a candidate from friends, relatives and others, but Mr. Liu has not disclosed the bundlers' names," as required by law.

These problems are occurring, notes the Times, "against a backdrop of an aggressive fund-raising drive by Mr. Liu" that is aimed particularly at extracting cash from the Chinese communities in Queens, Brooklyn, and Manhattan.

As comptroller, John Liu is the city of New York's top financial officer, overseeing the city's $66-billion budget and its $120-billion pension fund. In a critical editorial on October 17, the Times noted with regard to Liu:

His job is to hold the city accountable for its finances. How can New Yorkers feel confident about his abilities in that job if he does not make certain his own fund-raising operation is complying with the city's campaign finance laws?

Liu told the Times that his campaign will be investigating the donor irregularities uncovered by the reporters to determine if indeed illegal contributions may have inadvertently found their way into his coffers. The New American contacted Liu's comptroller office on October 20 to ask about progress on addressing the donor discrepancies. Matthew Sweeney, a press spokesman for the comptroller's office, informed us that he couldn't comment on the matter, as it was a campaign-related issue which would have to be addressed by Liu's campaign office. However, Liu's campaign office did not return our call on October 20 or 21.

Liu's Beijing Connection
Unmentioned in the Times reportage and editorializing is the far more troubling fact of Liu's close ties to the ruling Communist Party of China and to several communist organizations in the New York metropolitan area, including some with a history of violence. Any campaign corruption is dangerous, because it places a public office, public trust, and public funds in jeopardy of falling under the influence of the highest bidder. It also makes the recipient susceptible to blackmail. Campaign corruption involving a foreign country adds the additional serious potential for compromising national security. This is especially so when the foreign country in question is the People's Republic of China (PRC) and the political figure is a high-level public official in charge of public finance in our nation's financial capital.

The Times is not unaware of John Liu's close ties to China's Consul General Keyu Peng, as well as to longtime communist activists John Choe and Margaret Chin of the now defunct Communist Workers Party. This is public knowledge that has been fairly widely reported over the past several years and which became an issue in 2009 when Liu decided to give up his city council seat and run for comptroller. As The New American reported in 2009 (see, for instance, "Lobbyists for Communist N. Korea & China Worming Way into Big Apple Politics" and "Communist Ties Become Issue in NYC Politics"), John Choe is a Korean-American who is infatuated with North Korea's communist dictatorship and bears a vicious hatred toward the United States, which he has publicly denounced numerous times. Choe worked for years on Liu's city council staff and then joined Liu's comptroller staff after failing to win a city council seat for himself in 2009.

John Liu's political fortunes have risen over the past decade along with Beijing's alarming inroads into New York's Chinese communities. During his 2009 comptroller campaign, he was the target of protests by several Chinese-American groups who charged that he was completely in the pocket of the PRC communists. Most troubling are the charges that he provided political cover for communist thugs employed by and directed by Beijing's Consul General Keyu Peng to beat up Chinese American citizens, including many who were Liu's constituents. When these constituents appealed to Liu, they say he dismissed their concerns out of hand and sided with the consul's thugs who had attacked them.

Professor Chen Zhifei, an economist with the City University of New York, was one of the courageous critics who stepped forward to challenge John Liu's subservience to the PRC. In an extended interview with New Tang Dynasty Television (NTDTV — imbedded below), Dr. Chen detailed Liu's dangerous connections to China and his actions on behalf of Beijing's objectives.

Liu has been hit with a recent series of blows from the New York Post. Unlike the Times, the Post has not refrained from exposing Liu's Red ties. In October stories (see here and here) the Post surmised that John Choe's resignation in September from his $105,000/year job on Liu's comptroller staff was really the result of getting "kicked to the curb" by his boss, who didn't want Choe's communist pedigree as an election albatross. However, as the Post noted, Choe left his official position with the city for a "cushy new job" with Asian Americans for Equality (AAFE), which is, in essence, the new name for his old club, the Communist Workers Party. "Throughout the 1970s and '80s, AAFE and the now-defunct Communist Workers Party shared offices, phone lines and leaders," the Post reported. The name change, image change, and change of tactics have worked wonders for the comrades; the AAFE and its affiliates have been awarded millions of dollars in federal, state, local, and corporate grants and loans to dispense for training programs, home loans, business loans, and community development. However, if investigative reporters and campaign finance auditors begin delving into AAFE's finances and connections, Choe's red roots may still return to haunt Liu.

Related articles:

Lobbyists for Communist N. Korea & China Worming Way into Big Apple Politics

Communist Ties Become Issue in NYC Politics

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