NEW YORK CITY — Two of the five board members who denied the city's matching funds for Comptroller John Liu’s mayoral campaign Monday have been directly involved in the fundraising for one of his rivals, City Council Christine Quinn, prompting Liu campaign surrogates to declare the board’s actions a “political hit.”
“The two people on the [Campaign Finance Board] that are appointed by the speaker of the Council should have recused themselves immediately in regards to this because it shows an impropriety,” said Norman Seabrook, president of the Correction Officers' Benevolent Association, during a rally with Liu after the board’s decision.
Quinn appointed Richard Davis, who heads up his own private practice law firm, to the board in 2009. Prior to his appointment, Davis was a bundler for Quinn’s campaign, according to campaign finance records.
In 2007 and 2008, Davis raised $20,125 as a bundler for Quinn, mostly from other lawyers, including a number at Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, where Davis had worked previously. The vast majority of the donations came from residents in New York City and thus would be subject to matching funds for the campaign.
Another board member, Art Chang, personally donated $1,000 to Quinn’s campaign. Chang is the founder of Tipping Point Partners, an internet start-up business incubator. Mayor Michael Bloomberg reappointed him to the board in 2013.
The board is made up of five appointees, three from the mayor and two from the Council speaker. Mark Piazza is a partner at Jacobi, Sieghardt, Bousanti, Piazza & Fitzpatrick, P.C., and is Quinn’s other appointment to the board.
Asked about the board’s potential conflict of interest after the vote Monday, its chairman, Joseph P. Parkes — a Bloomberg appointee — defended the board, saying, “We are not at all a rubber-stamp group.”