I guess i'll post this as a diary since people were yelling at me for overly long thread comments. Hopefully you won't find this too irrelevant or parochial for diary material.
John Liu technically has not said whether he is staying in the mayoral contest or not. As Azi Paybarah correctly noted you can really take his statements either way.
Of course the fact he is so non-committal in and of itself speaks to his dire circumstances.
His opponents (well serious opponents if we're going to exclude Tom Allon) are not criticizing him in the least. He even got a statement of support from Bill Thompson.
What this tells you is they no longer see him as a threat and are looking towards courting him and his supporters.
What also should tell you something is this bizarre story about his own labor supporters being afraid to speak with him because they are afraid he himself might turn states witness to save his own back.
As the federal probe into city Controller John Liu’s mayoral campaign widens, the embattled Democrat is so politically toxic that some of his bigwig union supporters are afraid to speak with him, sources said Thursday.His supporters can't be much thrilled by this bizarre statement.
In recent days — as the investigation reached higher up the campaign hierarchy, ensnaring the 25-year-old treasurer for her role in an alleged fund-raising conspiracy — Liu quietly called around to labor leaders, seeking their backing of his plan to reform the city’s pension funds. But one union president said he was very nervous to be chatting with Liu — for fear the controller might be wearing a wire.
“He’s under federal investigation,” said the union president, who spoke under the condition of anonymity and speculated that Liu might be cooperating with authorities to bust others. “I know how this game works.”
Liu: I was stunned by the news of Jenny. And at this point, there are probably few things that will stun me again.It's never a good sign when the candidate expects to be "stunned" again.
The current crisis was started by his 25 year old campaign treasurer being arrested. Many expect her to flip rather than risk 60 years in prison. But there are a few things which say she will in fact take the fall.
First Jenny Hou’s lawyer is on retainer to the John Liu campaign and is being paid by the Liu campaign.
Are her attorneys going to advise their non-paying client to turn on their paying client? Big conflict of interest. And one that does not work towards her favor.
The Newsday article above about labor leaders being afraid of speaking to John Liu has this little tidbit from Jenny Hou's family.
Hou’s parents, who are close with Liu and have donated to his campaign, appear to be proud of her. They told a Chinese-language newspaper that they were grateful for her part in Liu’s quest to politically empower the Chinese community. They added that they could accept their daughter being imprisoned because she would be able to use the time to complete her master’s degree, the paper reported.Yes you read that right. Her parents are fine with her going to jail because she could pursue her graduate degree there. You can't make this stuff up.
Ever the dutiful daughter and employee Jenny Hou has only kind words for the boss she may end up taking the fall for.
“John Liu is the most hard-working person I’ve ever met,” Hou said Friday.According to Jenny Hou's mom her main concern is not for herself but her boss.
“He’s done a tremendous amount of work for New York City and the people of this city,” she continued.
“I have no doubt that he will continue to be one of the best elected officials in the city.”
In fact, her mother claimed Hou is not blaming Liu but actually consoling him, according to comments the mom gave to the Chinese-language World Journal newspaper.Her mother goes on to say Jenny Hou going to prison for Liu might be a "good thing for her".
“Jenny even gave him comfort and said, ‘How come you are not as calm as my parents?’ ” Hou’s mom, Sui Xiang Zhu, recounted when Liu spoke with Hou following the arrest of his campaign aide Tuesday.
“What John Liu is doing is not for his personal benefit, but for all of the Chinese community. Hou Jia’s [Jenny Hou’s] sacrifice is also for the Chinese community,” Zhu said.
Her mom also said that Hou will work to get her master’s degree — even in prison if necessary.Which brings up something interesting. The whole affair is being covered quite differently in the Chinese language press both domestic and foreign. I'll note this article is by a newspaper associated with the Falun Gong who have (quite legimately) issues with the Chinese government and those who are friendly with it.
“She’s so young, and for her life, this can be a good thing for her,” Zhu said.
One of the folks they find too friendly with the Chinese government is Liu himself. Again it's a partisan story by a newspaper with a very biased point of view. And is nothing I can verify anywhere else.
The CCP launched a campaign to “eradicate” Falun Gong in July 1999, in response to the group’s popularity in China.Of course Jenny Hou's silence doesnt end the investigation. The feds are looking for others to charge and potentially flip.
In March 2008, violent, organized protests against Falun Gong erupted in Flushing, protests, which the then PRC Consulate General Peng Keyu took credit for in a recorded phone call.
Liu refused several requests from Falun Gong practitioners living in his district to meet with him to discuss the attacks. On one occasion, Liu was meeting with individuals who had been charged with attacking Falun Gong practitioners. When the practitioners arrived at Liu’s office, he showed them the door, saying, “Bye, bye, bye.”
As far as my views on all this. I liked John Liu. Until very recently he was my preferred candidate for Mayor. He's done a good job as City Comptroller and keeping tabs on all the crooked and foolish contracts Bloomberg signs in his never ending quest to outsource every New York City government job out of state. And probably would've done a good job as Mayor.
I did view the initial charges against Liu as being overblown. The whole half million dollar fine from the sanitation department for illegally posted marterials was blatantly partisan. Particularly when the Bloomberg administration ordered the fines refiled after the court threw them out.
And when you're dealing with an immigrant community becoming involved in politics often for the first time you'll have folks not understanding the rules (or the consequences of breaking them) who get themselves into unncessary trouble.
But someone running for high city office almost always chooses someone with experience as campaign treasurer. The city finance rules are very stringent and the Campaign Finance Board of New York City is no joke. Jenny Hou would not be the first campaign treasurer sent to prison.
Now for a neophyte running a token campaign they can't possibly win for city council. They might appoint a family friend who is an accountant or something. But anyone else will appoint someone with experience. Because you really need to make sure everything is in compliance because if it isn't there are serious consequences.
There are only two reasons why someone running for Mayor wouldn't. First that they are just really cheap and or foolish. John Liu is no fool and as a City Comptroller who was the son of a banker thrown into prison for financial misdoings he knows very well the need for tight control over ledgers and the consequences of not doing so.
You could argue that they went with someone inexperienced because they needed someone with contacts in the Chinese American community. But there are people with experience in that community. And the best person for making those contacts is not a 25 year girl. No matter how talented she may or may not be.
There is only one possible reason I can think for hiring a 25 year old. All the folks who have prior campaign experience and know what they are doing would know the consequences of pulling the type of stunts the John Liu campaign was pulling and would've resigned rather than risk facing prison. Hence the hiring of a 25 year old girl who is far too green to know exactly what she was getting herself into.
He seems guilty as hell. And for better or worse he only really has one card to play. He can offer the DA his resignation as City Comptroller as part of a plea bargain. So don't look for his voluntary resignation any time soon.