NEW YORK TIMES 🔵 A Candidate Got $162,000 in Public Money. His Secret: Fake Donors. – Shango Media
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NEW YORK TIMES 🔵 A Candidate Got $162,000 in Public Money. His Secret: Fake Donors.

New York’s new matching-funds campaign system rewards candidates who raise money from small donors, but weak oversight may already have led to abuses.

In the heart of Flushing, Queens, a second-floor apartment seemed to be a modest hotbed of interest in a local State Assembly race, with three family members donating small amounts of cash to an obscure Democrat, according to campaign records.

A taxi driver, Ahmad Zadran, was listed as a $40 donor to the candidate, Dao Yin. Mr. Zadran’s brother was shown as giving $25; his son, Raheem Zadran, was listed as giving $50.

Under New York State’s new generous system for publicly financing political campaigns, Mr. Yin claimed the Zadrans’ modest donations as eligible for $1,380 in matching funds. Yet in interviews, the Zadrans said they had not given money to Mr. Yin, nor had they even heard of him.

“This is crazy,” Raheem Zadran, 27, said. “I never donated to this guy. I don’t know who the hell he is.”

His father was equally incredulous. “I don’t care about politics,” Ahmad Zadran said. “I never donate a penny to anybody.”

The Zadrans are among scores of New Yorkers who supposedly made small cash donations to Mr. Yin, a businessman who immigrated to New York from Shanghai in the late 1990s. He is the lesser known of two candidates in the Democratic primary who are challenging longtime Assemblyman Ron Kim in a predominantly Asian district east of La Guardia Airport.

Donations in cash, matched by public funds

Among the 48 Assembly candidates in New York who received matching funds, Dao Yin got by far the largest percentage of donations in cash.

Source: New York Times analysis of New York State Public Finance Board data

By Bianca Pallaro

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