john liu's campaign caught up in fundraising scandal

A political blow for New York City comptroller John Liu... This week, one of his fund-raisers was arrested and charged with illegally funneling thousands of dollars into Liu's campaign account: Fund-Raiser for Liu Is Accused of Role in Illegal Donations.

According to court documents, Liu fund-raiser Xing Wu Pan tried to help a businessman circumvent the city's $4,950 individual donor limit by recruiting fictitious donors to funnel the money through. Shady. And as it turns out, that businessman was an undercover federal agent:
Mr. Pan told the purported businessman that they would organize a fund-raiser in which a handful of straw donors would attend to make it appear that the money was coming from many people, the complaint said. But Mr. Pan said it would be made clear to Mr. Liu that the event was underwritten by the businessman.

"Here's the thing, only (the candidate) knows it's your event," Mr. Pan told the agent. "Legally, legally, on the form," Mr. Pan explained, the campaign finance paperwork would make it appear that the contributions came from the checks and credit card payments from the straw donors, the complaint said.
Campaigns being what they are, it's uncertain whether or not Liu was aware of the scheme. But Pan clearly acted illegally, and the uncover agent got it all on video. He was charged with one count each of conspiracy to commit wire fraud and attempted wire fraud. Each count carries a maximum sentence of 20 years.

Whatever the case, this is a setback for Liu, who had definite designs on becoming New York's first Asian American mayor. More here: John Liu's political future up in the air after fund-raising scandal taints mayoral campaign.

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