Federal agents have begun an investigation into City Comptroller John Liu's campaign funds. The probe seeks to find irregularities in campaign financing rules which include questions surrounding Liu's donors, if they indeed existed and if they had given their own money.
The investigation, now in its early stages, was prompted by a New York Times story in October that canvassed more than 100 homes and places of work to find about two dozen irregularities in the campaign's reported contributions.
Such "ghost donors" include the campaign listing Raymond Chen as an employee at Dynasty Corporation in Queens having donated $800 to Liu's campaign. The Times talked to Chen, a student at Pace University, who said he had never worked at Dynasty, let alone be able to afford the $800 donation recorded by the campaign.
Campaign rules also mandate for donor contributions to be filed for every person donating. However on different occasions, one person has been cited for signing cards under multiple names, some saying a relative or employer had provided for their donations.
Last month, Liu acknowledged the pending probe and said, "I'm proud of the way we've run our campaign thus far, but if there are any issues, I intend to get to the bottom of them."
As City Comptroller, Liu holds the city's top ranking financial position, and he oversees both the city's $66 billion budget and $120 billion pension fund. Liu is also reportedly a potential mayoral candidate for the 2013 race.