A Confluence of Horrible Politics

When it comes down to less than 100 votes between the two candidates, you don’t get to be a sore winner and gloat over an exceedingly narrow victory. When the victory came about as a result of a relentless, libelous campaign whereby a young and promising legislator is defamed as a “Republican” sellout, it’s nothing to boast about. When the beneficiary of that campaign is one of the most toxic and corruptible figures ever to skulk through government, it’s shameful. Barbara Miller-Williams didn’t win for herself, had Steve Pigeon not formed a PAC and funded it with almost $300,000 within the course of a week, there’d have been no blitz of “Tim Hogues is a Republican” mailers that went to every home in the district every day. 

Betty Jean Grant – she was a victor, completely obliterating the opponent who stood to benefit from the same mailing blitz. Nice try, Tim Kennedy, but you didn’t get your revenge directly against your nemesis this time

Zydel and Moore – the Pigeon/Mazurek top of the marquee – both lost big to HQ-backed candidates Dearmyer (who, in turn, lost to Pat Burke), and Wynnie Fisher, respectively. Not a day for a Pigeon victory lap at all. 

Bert Dunn, on the other hand, lost dramatically to Dick Dobson. Dunn ran his own campaign with his own people and his own money, eschewing help from the party apparatus. Zellner stayed out of that race, for the most part, and Dunn lost big. Too big – it was embarrassing, but all he seemed to do was put signs up at Bert’s Bikes locations and let Pigeon’s committee beat him up on TV. 

Now, Dunn is pledging to continue his run on the “Law and Order” party line he created for himself. This is a foolish endeavor that will not work and is a stupid thing to do at a time when Democrats should be rallying around Dobson. Dunn failed and should step aside and perhaps try again another time. 

By the same token, Democrats should all be supporting Fisher and Burke in their general election battles. It’s one thing to run a primary campaign, it’s another to actively support the Republican to get one over on the party apparatchiks you don’t like. 

Finally, as the Buffalo News’ Bob McCarthy reported, complaints have been made to the Moreland Commission on public corruption. Let’s examine. 

– Senator Tim Kennedy gave $85,000 to the Pigeon/Mazurek PAC, half of which came from a defunct, closed campaign account in apparent violation of election law. Kennedy tells McCarthy that his donations followed the “letter and spirit” of the law. The facts and disclosures show the exact opposite, yet this is omitted from the article.  

– Pigeon told McCarthy: 

Pigeon labeled the Grant-Hogues letter a “frivolous action” and questioned whether Cuomo’s Moreland Commission is even charged with probing political campaigns.

“The charge is to investigate corruption of public officers,” Pigeon said, “not to be a campaign watchdog. That power still lies with the Board of Elections.

Yet the Moreland Commission on Public Corruption was formed earlier this year, and the announcement read, in part, as follows

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the formation of the “Commission to Investigate Public Corruption” under the Moreland Act and Executive Law Section 63(8) to probe systemic public corruption and the appearance of such corruption in state government, political campaigns and elections in New York State

…”I am formally empanelling a Commission to Investigate Public Corruption pursuant to the Moreland Act and Section 63(8) of the Executive Law that will convene the best minds in law enforcement and public policy from across New York to address weaknesses in the State’s public corruption, election and campaign finance laws, generate transparency and accountability, and restore the public trust.”

  • [The commission will investigate] Campaign financing including but not limited to contribution limits and other restrictions; disclosure of third-party contributions and expenditures; and the effectiveness of existing campaign finance laws.

So, the facts directly contradict Pigeon’s assertion about the commission’s mission, yet this key fact is shunted down to the bottom of the article, completely outside the context of Pigeon’s assertion. 

The way in which New York conducts is elections is horrible, rife with opportunities for bad people to do questionable and corrupt things. PACs can spend unlimited money and its campaign advertising doesn’t need to disclose the source. Electoral fusion allows our system to be more about dealmaking with otherwise irrelevant minor “parties” and does nothing to enhance electoral democracy. Ballot access is unreasonably complicated and rife with traps for the unwary, and should be simplified. Money flowing to and from PACs – which are not even formally recognized under state law – should be accounted-for, disclosed, and limited to prevent monied interests from stealing elections. 

The problem now is whether money in politics will prevent the needed reforms from being openly discussed and implemented. 

15 comments

  • Thank you John Roberts, Antoine Scalia,……..

  • Tim Kennedy used racist mailings in the white part of his State Senate district, and slander against Betty Jean Grant in the African-American part.

    People should know that Tim Kennedy tried to use Betty Jean Grant in Cheektowaga in a sick attempt to inject race in his attack mailers against Wynnie Fisher and Lynn Dearmyer.

    While Pigeon was targeting Democratic Hq. for defeat, Kennedy was targeting Betty Jean.

    Kennedy is obsessed with Betty Jean. He knows she is the only one who will CRUSH him next time around. By spending the $85,000 this year, he thought he could hurt her, and he could do it under Rick Zydel, Wes Moore, and Joyce Nixon’s name.

    Funny how it all backfired, setting him up for defeat in 2014.

    “Radical county legislators, led by extremist Legislature Chair Betty Jean Grant….” Sent to mostly white households (with a photo of Betty Jean and Fisher or Dearmyer) clearly appealing to racism, paid by a State Senator with a large African-American constituency.

    SpeakupWNY posts those mailers here:
    http://www.speakupwny.com/forums/showthread.php?526279-Primary-Erie-County-Legislature/page4

    Tim Kennedy is pretty pathetic for a community leader:
    – He sold out to Republicans when he was a County Legislator
    – He fired the Democratic staff and gave their jobs to Republicans
    – He used tens-of-thousands to deny residents their vote in the Senate recount in 2012
    – He spent $85,000 on a racist campaign designed to attack Betty Jean Grant
    – He is obsessed with bringing Steve Pigeon back into power
    – He first comment when approached nowadays is “I need money, can you help me”

    Not only should people be cat-calling this racist creep when in public, people should do everything in their power to get this bum out of public office!

    And just where are our other so-called “leaders” when it comes to this kind of politics? Or clergy? Or the media?

    Every one of them should be standing up against Tim Kennedy’s politics!!!

    • Tim Kennedy + Steve Pigeon = Future jailbirds of NY

      • WNY PROGRESSIVE CAUCUS – Latest filing with NYS Board of Elections…

        http://www.elections.ny.gov:8080/plsql_browser/getreports?filer_in=A19577&fyear_in=2013&rep_in=C

        Interesting – “9/9/13 LANDON LLC 101 REO AVE $25,000.00 CONSL.” Heck, that Pigeon’s own company getting 25K, Sandi Schmid’s address, too. (Sandi does Pigeon’s bookkeeping for EVER!!! Now here’s someone who could FOLLOW THE MONEY. HaHaHa!). So, he “loans” the committee and pays himself, too??? Oh, but they still owe him 90K. Nice.

        Also, “EDDIE STOKES – $1,000.00 – CONSL” from Crystal Davis Peoples STOKES, Hmmmmmm

        Damn, Mike Darby made out like a bandit, “$5,014.00” and “$3,968.75” and “$6,800.00” and “$6,800.00” for “CONSL.” What’s that all about??? That’s just for this one report. Dude better watch the IRS on this one. LOL.

        Oh, and Dude, please stop beating up on a nice woman like Betty Jean Grant. Won’t ya??

  • Seems as if the Democratic Garden needs some tending.
    Only in Buffalo apparently before being a person, a human is a Democrat or Republican.

  • I am voting with the Schwinn Airdyne party and Bert.

  • Alan: In regards to your last sentence, the answer is simple….YES.

    Wait…make that HELL YES!

  • Alan:

    Ignoring all of the ubiquitous Bedenko venom and invective, let’s cut to the conclusions:

    – “The way in which New York conducts is elections is horrible, rife with opportunities for bad people to do questionable and corrupt things.” This has always been true of every election involving human beings. See Athens, Greece, 5th century BCE. What new laws will change human nature?

    – “PACs can spend unlimited money and its campaign advertising doesn’t need to disclose the source.” True. See Bukley v Valeo, the US Bill of Rights and NYS Election Law. Who’s for repealing the First Amendment?

    – “Electoral fusion allows our system to be more about dealmaking with otherwise irrelevant minor “parties” and does nothing to enhance electoral democracy.” Agreed. What’s your proposal? Politicians can run in all primaries (Cuomo proposal) or an Open Primary, single combined primary for all parties (California, Washington, Louisiana)? (That pesky old
    Bill of Rights will make it difficult to outlaw minor political parties.)

    – “Ballot access is unreasonably complicated and rife with traps for the unwary, and should be simplified.” This has been true all your life, what are your proposals? BTW, this concept
    extends to the entirety of the Election Law, which is a minefield of quirks and gotchas.

    – “Money flowing to and from PACs – which are not even formally recognized under state law – should be accounted-for, disclosed, and limited to prevent monied interests from stealing elections.” PACs are recognized. See generally Election Law, Article 14 and Regulations 6200.xx.
    See also
    “Election Law 14-100
    ..
    9. ‘‘contribution’’
    means:
    ..
    (3) any payment,..
    …none of the foregoing shall be deemed a contribution if it is made, taken or performed by a candidate or his spouse or by a person or a political committee independent of the candidate or his agents or authorized political committees. For purposes of this article, the term ‘‘independent of the candidate or his agents or authorized political committees’’ shall mean that the candidate or his agents or authorized political committees did not authorize, request, suggest, foster or cooperate in any such activity;…”

    Once again that troublesome old First Amendment gets in the way of our attempts to limit core political free speech by those we don’t agree with. Mandatory accounting and disclosure are permitted, limits probably not.

    So, got any real ideas, or just going to continue to rant and spew sour grapes? And, BTW, do any of your adoring anonymous followers actually exist or are they all your own multiple disguised identity?

    • Ignoring all of the ubiquitous Bedenko venom and invective, let’s cut to the conclusions:

      – “The way in which New York conducts is elections is horrible, rife with opportunities for bad people to do questionable and corrupt things.” This has always been true of every election involving human beings. See Athens, Greece, 5th century BCE. What new laws will change human nature?

      So, don’t do anything about it? Greek elections were run exactly like New York’s? What are you trying to say, except “do nothing, everything’s fine”?

      – “PACs can spend unlimited money and its campaign advertising doesn’t need to disclose the source.” True. See Bukley v Valeo, the US Bill of Rights and NYS Election Law. Who’s for repealing the First Amendment?

      If there’s a way to limit individual contributions to campaigns, I’m sure there’s a constitutional way to limit committee contributions to campaigns.

      – “Electoral fusion allows our system to be more about dealmaking with otherwise irrelevant minor “parties” and does nothing to enhance electoral democracy.” Agreed. What’s your proposal? Politicians can run in all primaries (Cuomo proposal) or an Open Primary, single combined primary for all parties (California, Washington, Louisiana)? (That pesky old
      Bill of Rights will make it difficult to outlaw minor political parties.)

      Abolish electoral fusion and abolish Wilson-Pakula. If you want to run for office on a particular party line, you have to be a member of that party. No one’s ever suggested “outlaw[ing] minor parties.”

      – “Ballot access is unreasonably complicated and rife with traps for the unwary, and should be simplified.” This has been true all your life, what are your proposals? BTW, this concept
      extends to the entirety of the Election Law, which is a minefield of quirks and gotchas.

      You said in 1, supra, that the system is just fine, so it follows that you like the minefield, too. In my opinion, ballot access should be a payment of $1,000 for statewide office, $500 for a county / judicial office, and $200 for a local or municipal race.

      – “Money flowing to and from PACs – which are not even formally recognized under state law – should be accounted-for, disclosed, and limited to prevent monied interests from stealing elections.” PACs are recognized. See generally Election Law, Article 14 and Regulations 6200.xx.
      See also
      “Election Law 14-100

      The acronym “PAC” does not exist in the Election Law. They’re independent committees.

      Once again that troublesome old First Amendment gets in the way of our attempts to limit core political free speech by those we don’t agree with. Mandatory accounting and disclosure are permitted, limits probably not.

      About those disclosures…

      So, got any real ideas, or just going to continue to rant and spew sour grapes? And, BTW, do any of your adoring anonymous followers actually exist or are they all your own multiple disguised identity?

      1. There are your ideas.
      2. You have a login and you can search as easily as I and determine that I don’t use sock puppets on my own blog. If you’re computer-literate enough to attempt it, that is.

Leave a Reply