When City Comptroller John Liu was asked recently to identify his campaign treasurer—the person listed as his treasurer, Jenny Hou, was arrested the other day, and there was an assumption that she no longer held the post—he did something that should shock nobody: He simply refused to provide a name.
Sadly, that sort of arrogance has become standard operating procedure in the comptroller’s office. Mr. Liu is a discredited public official who can no longer carry out the vital duties of his office. He needs to leave.
Mr. Liu’s campaign fund-raising practices are the subject of a widening federal investigation. The feds moved in after The New York Times revealed that Mr. Liu’s campaign books read like a novel—not because they are easy to read, but because they contain elements of fiction. Individuals listed as contributors came forward to say that they never gave money to the campaign. The names of bundlers, that is, people who solicited bulk contributions, were not disclosed as required by law (after months of stalling, Mr. Liu revealed their names several weeks ago).
Ms. Hou, a 25-year-old with limited experience in the high-powered world of New York campaign fund-raising, was arrested on fraud and conspiracy charges, including an accusation that she illegally funneled money into Mr. Liu’s campaign through the use of phony donors. The question, of course, is whether Mr. Liu was aware of these irregularities. If so, Ms. Hou may be more a victim than a perpetrator in this scandal.
Mr. Liu pretends to be blissfully unaware of the growing outrage. Asked recently on WNYC radio about a chorus of calls for his resignation, he responded with a question of his own: “What calls for resignation?”
They are loud and they are clear, but Mr. Liu continues to pretend that he is a credible figure in New York politics and government. He has yet to renounce his prospective campaign for mayor in 2013.
How many more arrests will it take for Mr. Liu to realize that the game is up, and he has lost?