Liu sues city for denying matching funds in 2013
by Andrew Shilling
Mar 19, 2014 | 847 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Former city Comptroller John Liu is challenging the Campaign Finance Board (CFB) and the former Bloomberg Administration for the denial of matching funds for his 2013 bid for mayor.

The former councilman filed a lawsuit claiming violations of the First Amendment and equal protection principles.

“I am a strong believer in and supporter of the New York City campaign finance system,” Liu said. “However, the system has been broken by out-of-control bureaucrats and unaccountable board members.”

The CFB denied matching funds following numerous reports that the Liu mayoral campaign was in the midst of an ongoing internal review of campaign contributions, so as to not match an invalid amount.

“The CFB is an agency in dire need of reform and I look forward to fleshing out these important issues,” Liu said.

In an October 28, 2011, letter to Jia Hou, Liu’s former campaign treasurer later sentenced to 10 months in jail for a straw donor scandal, the CFB informed the campaign of their matching fund denial during the investigation.

Amy Loprest, executive director of the CFB, assured the city only followed their best judgment in not awarding the candidate matching funds.

“Over 25 years and seven mayoral elections, the board’s oversight has always been tough, but fair,” Loprest said in a statement following news of the lawsuit. “It protects taxpayers, and ensures campaigns that receive funds are playing by the rules.”

In addition to his lawsuit with with the CFB, Liu and his lawyers also challenge Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s appointment of Rose Gil Hearn as chair of the CFB on Dec. 31, 2013.

The lawsuit claims that Bloomberg appointed Hearn without consultation from the speaker of the City Council, a step required by the City Charter.

“We deserve more from our government institutions that regulate elections than to jump on a bandwagon led by prosecutors who overstepped their bounds,” said attorney Richard Emery from Emery Celli Brinkerhoff & Abady. “Without enforceable standards and rules that circumscribe the CFB’s discretion, this is what we get; unconstitutional decisions that trample our municipal democracy.”

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