Queens Councilwoman Liz Crowley was out of the gate this morning with an announcement that she has raised $100,000 for her congressional campaign in only 10 days – a very rapid fundraising clip.
But Crowley’s campaign now tells City & State that $30,000 of that money was actually from “refunded donations” — money that was refunded from her City Council campaign account to donors, who then re-donated to her congressional campaign.
I contacted Crowley’s campaign about whether this type of scenario had occurred after a political operative expressed suspicion to me about the $100,000 sum announced by the campaign. Crowley’s congressional campaign filings will not be publicly available for several days.
It’s a fairly common tactic for nascent political campaigns to announce some huge campaign filing number, only for reporters to find out a few days later that a large amount had been transferred from a pre-existing campaign account. In Crowley’s case, there have been plenty of questions about whether she will be viable in the three-way Congressional District 6 primary, absent the backing of her cousin, Rep. Joe Crowley, chairman of the Queens Democratic Party. In her campaign’s press release on the fundraising this morning, Yun in fact stated that, “No one will run a more competitive campaign.”
Still, the $70,000 remaining doesn’t seem too bad for just 10 days work, though we’ll see soon what the other campaigns rake in.
As of January, Crowley’s 2013 campaign account for City Council contained nearly $95,000.
Crowley’s announcement this morning comes as the Working Families Party is meeting today to decide who to back in the Congressional District 6 primary, which also includes Assemblyman Rory Lancman and Assemblywoman Grace Meng. Meng’s campaign just sent out an email saying she would release fundraising numbers tomorrow that would leave the press “astonished.”
An interested observer points out that Crowley has had a few campaign finance issues in the past. After her 2001 Council race, Crowley was fined $80,000 for fundraising irregularities, and she was fined $1,325 in 2010.
Here’s a link to the audit of the 2001 campaign.
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