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The Republican candidate in the congressional race based around Flushing is calling on his Democratic opponent to release the names of people who collected her campaign donations in the wake of the arrest of former state Assemblyman Jimmy Meng.
City Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone) issued a statement Monday calling on Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) to release the name of bundlers, a disclosure that is not required by law in a congressional election.
“If Grace Meng isn’t ready to disclose her finances, how can she be ready to represent us in Congress?” said Steven Stites, Halloran’s campaign spokesman. “Her campaign coffers are flush with special interest money. The people deserve to know who helped her raise that money. New Yorkers can’t help but wonder what Grace Meng has to hide.”
At a recent Republican event, Halloran said Jimmy Meng had bundled about 25 percent of his daughter’s campaign donations, according to a video posted on the political blog of The New York Observer.
Jimmy Meng was arrested July 24 and charged with wire fraud in connection with accepting $80,000 in bribe money from an informer for the FBI. The former Flushing assemblyman had allegedly taken the money in exchange for peddling what prosecutors contend was non-existent influence in the Manhattan district attorney’s office.
But his daughter’s campaign painted the request as a cheap shot by Halloran, who as of the last campaign finance disclosure was running with a significantly smaller war chest than his Democratic opponent.
“Simply saying something doesn’t make it so — an important lesson most elementary school students learn, but one Councilman Halloran cannot seem to grasp. Assemblywoman Meng’s congressional primary was a huge effort, active across the entire district and in all neighborhoods and communities,” said Austin Finan, Grace Meng’s campaign spokesman. “No one person, other than Grace, played an outsized role then or now.”
Meng’s camp has not officially released the identities of the bundlers and how much money each has gathered from other donors, and Halloran’s spokesman declined to comment on where the councilman came up with the 25 percent figure.
Supporters of Meng are hosting a $100-per-ticket dinner event in Manhattan later this month, where the host committee pays $500 a pop and the host $1,000. Halloran’s camp declined to comment on any upcoming fund-raisers.
Amid the back and forth over the bundlers, Meng picked up the endorsement of the Working Families Party, and
“I’m proud and grateful to have the support of the Working Families Party,” she said in a statement. “The [party] has long stood up for the same values I believe in — a fair, livable income, affordable housing and protecting the middle class at all costs.”
Reach reporter Joe Anuta by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone 718-260-4566.
©2012 Community Newspaper Group
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