Councilmember Dan Halloran, who initially clammed up after the federal arrest of his opponent’s father, broke his silence last week and demanded his rival open up about her campaign coffers.
Assemblymember Grace Meng — who stands between Halloran and his eyed seat in the House — was dealt what could be a major blow to her campaign when her father Jimmy Meng, a former Queens assemblymember, was arrested on June 24 on a federal wire fraud charge for allegedly attempting to scam $80,000 in cash from a state court defendant.
Halloran, who has frequently criticized how his opponent handles major district and national issues, originally declined to comment on the arrest. But the congressional hopeful reportedly addressed the issue during an endorsement speech the day after, according to the website Politicker.
“In my race, my opponent had her father arrested and indicted in federal court yesterday for scamming $80,000 out of a Chinese businessman, on tape, by FBI,” Halloran said in a video posted by the New York Observer political blog. “And he bundled one quarter of her money for her race, but they don’t even mention her. Don’t even mention her. If that had been me, it would have been as if I committed the crime. Why? Because I’m a Republican.”
Halloran’s camp released a statement on August 6, urging his opponent to disclose her “flush with special interest” finances and have a campaign based on transparency.
According to Federal Election Commission (FEC) disclosure reports, Jimmy Meng contributed at least $5,000 to his daughter’s congressional campaign. Grace Meng’s spokesperson, Austin Finan, did not openly disclose their campaign’s bundlers but fired back by calling Halloran a “whining politician” with “reckless, unfounded nastiness.”
“Recklessly implicating and attacking an independent woman with a sterling reputation in an attempt to score cheap political points is distasteful and sad,” Finan said, adding that the campaign followed stringent protocols to comply with FEC guidelines. “Simply saying something doesn’t make it so — an important lesson most elementary school students learn, but one Councilman Halloran cannot seem to grasp.”