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Yesterday the Campaign Finance Board denied $3.5 million in matching funds for John Liu's mayoral campaign, citing evidence of pervasive violations of campaign finance laws. It is largest penalty in the history of the program. Liu's lawyer called it a "death penalty." The campaign has already spent hundreds of thousands on legal fees and only has $1.5 million left. Liu argued that the irregularities were due to the make up of his donors, who are "overwhelmingly immigrant and first-time donors to any campaign." But a probe by the firm Thacher Associates found straw donors and other problems with the campaign's fundraising.
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Democratic mayoral candidate John Liu is scheduled to appear before the city's Campaign Finance Board this morning to learn whether he will be denied over $3.5 million in public matching funds. The Wall Street Journal reported that the board's staff recently sent a letter to Liu's campaign advising that "they are inclined to make an unfavorable recommendation." Losing the money would likely hobble -- or at least injure -- Liu's bid for mayor.
Questions around his campaign's fundraising tactics have hounded the candidate. His former campaign treasurer and a former fundraiser were convicted of fraud charges this past spring.
Supporters of Liu, currently serving as the city's comptroller, are planning to rally outside the board's headquarters during the public meeting that is set to get underway at 9 a.m. A live video stream of the meeting can be viewed here.
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Weekend Roundup: Bloomberg's Education Reputation Could Be Challenged With Release Of Test Scores (The New York Times) Six political groups not tied to candidates aim to spend millions shaping city races (Daily News) | Why Won't Weiner Drop Out? (The Associated Press)
Yesterday Interfaith Medical Center in Brooklyn filed a request to close in bankruptcy court. Most of the patients the hospital serves are without insurance and the hospital has suffered greatly since the state slashed Medicaid reimbursements. Unless there is some sort of bailout the hospital will close its emergency room in September and close totally in November. The news comes as Long Island College Hospital in Cobble Hill is on the verge of closure. Public Advocate and Democratic Mayoral candidate Bill de Blasio has made the hospital issue a focus of his campaign and has gone to court to keep LICH open. He has also released a plan that would create a super-authority to oversee Brooklyn Hospitals that would be run by the mayor and governor. De Blasio has continued to press his long-time friend Gov. Andrew Cuomo to act to save the hospitals. Meanwhile, the Cuomo administration holds out hope that the federal government will approve a request to use $10 billion the state saved from restructuring Medicaid payments to buoy the Brooklyn hospitals.
Campaign Finance Board Seeks to Deny Liu Public Funds (Wall Street Journal)
Did De Blasio Have Council Staff Watch His Kids? (NY Post)
Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the New York Police Department say that 90 percent of all guns used in crimes in the city in 2011 came from another state. Bloomberg vowed to continue to fight the influx of out-of-state guns despite protests from lawmakers. "To those who say, 'Stay out of our state,' our answer is: We'd love to," said Bloomberg, "Just as soon as you stop letting guns seep into the black market, land in the hands of criminals and be used to murder our citizens." Bloomberg issued a list of the top out-of-state sources for guns. Virginia tops the list, followed by North Carolina, South Carolina, Pennsylvania and Georgia. GOTHAMVOTES: 2013 CITY COUNCIL RACES TO WATCHThe debate over what to do to prepare for the next big storm is shaping a fierce City Council race in southern Brooklyn. Six contenders are vying to replace term-limited Councilman Michael Nelson in the 48th district. By Latima Stephens. CONTINUE READING
Group Finds Rents Have Risen For Sandy Victims in Staten Island (Staten Island Advance)
Mayoral Race Enters Negative Phase (NY Times)
Pataki Cleared in Lawsuit Over Sex Offenders' Rights (NY Times)
Yesterday a state appeals court unanimously upheld a lower court decision from last year blocking the Bloomberg Administration's ban on large sugary drinks. The First Department of the Appellate Division of State Supreme Court ruled the Board of Health overstepped their authority and that a ban should be left to lawmakers. The four-judge panel said since sugary drinks aren't harmful in moderation, they don't fall under the category of "inherently harmful" foods the board can ban. They also found the rule "manipulates choices to try to change consumer norms” through various exceptions and carve-outs and so went beyond the board's core mission to improve public health. The administration plans an appeal to the state's highest court.
Ethics Panel To Study Application Process For Donor Secrecy Shield (Albany Times Union)
State Comptroller Warns Of Long-Term Fiscal Concerns (Associated Press)
City Elections Board Without Executive Director For Three Years (Daily News)