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The Empire

Is Liu alone in Mayoral fundraising issues?

Crain's Insider this morning has an interesting piece up that looks at the practice of bundling among the likely 2013 Mayoral candidates. As you may recall, Comptroller John Liu has been in the crosshairs with editorial boards and reporters after the most recent campaign bundler--a person who recruits donors for a campaign--was arrested by the Feds for illegally funneling large sums into Liu's war chest.

But, as Crain's Insider reporters Jeremy Smerd and Shane Dixon Kavanaugh report, Liu is not alone. They take aim at former city Comptroller and 2009 Democratic Mayoral candidate Bill Thompson and Public Advocate Bill de Blasio in particular for what they say are improbably low numbers of bundlers.

Campaign Finance Board filings show a mere nine bundlers who have raised just $38,825 of the nearly $3 million de Blasio has brought in during his past two campaigns. Thompson has reported 11 bundlers contributing $128,733 of the $6.5 million he's amassed in two runs for mayor.

In contrast, Council Speaker Chris Quinn has listed 107 bundlers contributing nearly $1.9 million. Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer's 114 reported bundlers have raised $994,363.

Political fundraisers and campaign finance experts question the number of intermediaries reported by de Blasio and Thompson. “It's just not possible,” said one who has worked on a number of citywide races. “To raise millions of dollars with so few bundlers—it's an impossible feat.”

De Blasio in particular appears to have under-reported his bundlers. According to the article, his campaign will be revising their filings, adding around 20 new bundlers. There has been no indication of malfeasance or illegal behavior by any of the other 2013 hopefuls' donors, but the reality is that the process of bundling--and the outsized cash it can create thanks to the city's generous public financing of campaigns--is now receiving much greater scrutiny than before.