Federal Investigators Examine John Liu's Fundraising Operation

Grand jury subpoenas have been sent out, and Liu is in the process of retaining an attorney

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    NBC New York

    Federal investigators are looking into New York City comptroller John Liu's fundraising operation after a New York Times report last month of numerous inconsistencies in his campaign finance reports.

    Grand jury subpoenas have been sent out in the investigation, sources told NBC New York Monday. And prominent attorney Paul Shechtman also confirmed he was in the process of being retained by Liu.

    John Liu's Campaign Finance Mysteries

    [NY] John Liu's Campaign Finance Mysteries
    The New York Times reported Wednesday that John Liu, who is considered a top-tier contender for mayor in 2013, has numerous inconsistencies in his campaign finance reports, including questions about whether some donors even exist. (Published Thursday, Oct. 13, 2011)

    Liu's instructions to the attorney were "to cooperate fully with the investigation so the truth will come out," Shechtman told NBC New York.

    The New York Times reported Oct. 12 its findings of about 24 "irregularities" in Liu's campaign filing. Those included people who could not be found and people who said they never donated to Liu. Others said a boss or another Liu supporter donated in their name.

    "To the extent that there are any issues with these contributions, my campaign is conducting a full review and I’ll simply return them," Liu told NBC New York at the time. "There is no desire on my part, nor is there any need for me, to accept any contributions that are not completely above board.”

    “I accept complete responsibility for the conduct of my campaign, the people involved and also our filings and any problems," Liu added. "I am responsible for this, which is why I intend to get to the bottom of this."

    The subpoenas were issued to Liu's campaign and to Dynasty Stainless Steel, a city contractor whose employees were listed as having contributed thousands of dollars to his campaign. The records are being sought to determine whether there have been violations of federal wire fraud and conspiracy laws, the New York Times reported Monday.

    The Times found that nine people were listed on campaign records as company employees -- but at least four have said they did not work for the company, and two of those said they did not give money to the campaign.

    Liu issued a statement through a spokeswoman, Chung Seto, Monday, saying: "We intend to cooperate fully with the investigation. I am confident that my fundraising efforts were proper at all times."

    Spokespersons for both the Federal Bureau of Investigation and federal prosecutor Preet Bharara would not comment.