Probably the biggest news of the week, or at least the most recent, is that comptroller and mayoral candidate John Liu was denied over $3 million through the city’s very generous matching funds program.
The Campaign Finance Board ruled that the guilty verdicts in the case of inappropriate fundraising by two campaign staffers meant that all of Liu’s contributions were tainted and didn’t deserve to be matched with taxpayer money.
Of course, after a years-long investigation, which also involved tapping Liu’s personal phone, the comptroller himself was never found to have done anything wrong, but nonetheless the board voted to deny the money. That means Liu is going to be working at a distinct disadvantage as far as money is concerned as we head into the September primary.
Worth noting, however, is that the five-member board that decides whether or not Liu’s contributions qualify for the program are all appointed by either Mayor Michael Bloomberg or one of Liu’s opponents in the race, Speaker Christine Quinn.
The Campaign Finance Board is supposed to be nonpartisan, but it sure does seem like its controlled by two people who would either like to see Liu out of the race (Quinn) or have an axe to grind with Liu (Bloomberg).
Liu has been a thorn in the side of the Bloomberg administration since he took office, scrutinizing every financial move made by City Hall. Bloomberg even recently sued Liu for holding up contracts to operate two homeless shelters in the city.
We’re not saying either Quinn or Bloomberg called in any favors, but it all looks rather suspicious.
Liu plans to appeal, but even if he won a decision wouldn’t come until days before the primary, when the additional funds would likely have little impact on improving his chances.
Speaking of the mayoral race, Anthony Weiner continues to forge ahead with his embattled campaign. And we have to admit, as he stubbornly refuses to step aside, the chorus of editorial boards and critics calling for him to quit the race and deal with his personal issues seems to be subsiding. We guess people have just gotten used to the fact that he is in this thing for the long haul.
Weiner was back in his old congressional district last week, meeting with small business owners at Tandoor restaurant on Queens Boulevard in Rego Park. Of course, there was more press there than actual business owners, as every move that Weiner makes or text he sends these days is big news.
While Weiner was cordial and chatty with the business owners, he was less so with the scrum of press that followed him out the door following the meeting, rushing into a waiting black SUV and refusing to answer questions about the controversy surrounding him.
And speaking of politicians with a sketchy past (is there any other kind!), Assemblyman Vito Lopez was being lampooned this week after a mailer he sent to voters in his City Council race was called out for being a complete Photoshop disaster of an old Daily News photo.
In one of the photos in the mailer, Lopez is standing with Hillary Clinton in front of an “Elect Vito Lopez” sign. But the photo has clearly been doctored, as was first reported by Miss Heather on thatgreenpointblog.com.
The original photo is of Lopez and Clinton, but they are standing instead in front of a sign that reads “Elect Diana Reyna” - Lopez’s one-time chief of staff turned political foe.
Nowhere does the Lopez mailer explicitly say that Clinton is endorsing Lopez, but we’re certain he’ll take the assumption that she is, given the sexual misconduct allegations against Lopez and the backlash from women’s groups over the fact he is even considering running for office again after being forced to resign from the Assembly.
We can’t wait to see what the next four weeks brings!