Long: Time for Gillibrand to Denounce the Culture of Corruption in Albany and Call on Speaker Silver to Step Aside

September 6, 2012 at 10:49 am (Albany, Corruption, Kirsten Gillibrand, New York, NY-20, Rutnick Law, Sheldon Silver, Wendy Long)

U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long today called on Senator Gillibrand to immediately end her support for Sheldon Silver’s leadership and the culture of corruption that makes victims of young women.

“As she did with Speaker Hastert, it’s time for Kirsten Gillibrand to call on Speaker Silver to step aside and allow the special prosecutor to get to the bottom of the sexual harassment cover-up that has plagued Albany,” said U.S. Senate candidate Wendy Long.

“Given her self appointed role as cheerleader-in-chief for women’s issues, Gillibrand’s silence leads to the question whose interests is she protecting –women and New York taxpayers, or the lobbying practice of the Rutnick Law Firm?” concluded Long.

Gillibrand indicated yesterday in Charlotte that she continues to support Speaker Silver despite his collusion in attempting to silence victims of sexual harassment. Gillibrand said, the Speaker is “perfectly poised to be able to offer our votes and he will do so proudly on behalf of our state.”

“It’s inconsistent to say in one breath that you have ‘zero tolerance’ for sexual harassment, and yet still support Speaker Silver’s leadership,” concluded Long.

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Romney: President’s Practice of Rewarding Friends and Campaign Contributors With Government Money "Stinks to High Heaven"

July 16, 2012 at 10:04 am (Campaign Contributors, Corruption, Crony Stimulation, Economy, Layoffs, Middle Class, Mitt Romney, Payoffs, President Obama, Steve Doocy, Stimulus)

Mitt Romney went on Fox and Friends this morning to discuss the President’s record of political payoffs, while the middle class suffers significant layoffs.  Regarding Obama’s penchant for rewarding political allies with government funds, particularly the numerous examples that have been seen with rewards from the stimulus, Romney said the practice is flat-out “wrong” and “stinks to high heaven”.

Transcript:

Steve Doocy:  “I read in the Washington Post this morning that you want to draw attention to Obama’s political payoffs versus the middle class layoffs where you say, if you are a donor to the Obama camp you are going to do just fine. However if you are in the middle class Governor, your camp says, you got to worry about your job.” 

Mitt Romney: “There is no question but that when billions upon billions of dollars are given by the Obama Administration to the businesses of campaign contributors, that is a real problem particularly at a time when the middle class is really suffering in this country. I don’t know whether you watched over the weekend, the report that was in The New York Times about families really struggling particularly those that are single parents that are just having a hard time making ends meet. This is a tough time for the people of America. But if you are a campaign contributor to Barack Obama, your business may stand to get billions of dollars or hundreds of millions of dollars in cash from the government. I think it’s wrong. I think it stinks to high heaven and I think the administration has to explain how it is they would consider giving money to campaign contributors’ businesses.” 

Here’s the video of that exchange…

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Unions Behaving Badly: Registering Inmates to Vote, Spending Dues at Strip Clubs

February 21, 2012 at 11:37 am (Correction Officer, Corruption, Double Vision, Dues, Gary Gordon, Inmates, Jack Mahar, Kevin Rogers, Mark Piche, New York, Rensselaer County, SEARCO, Sheriff, Strip Club, Union)

The Albany Times Union has broken a story involving correction officers in Rensselaer county trying to unseat the incumbent Republican sheriff, Jack Mahar, through unsavory means.  The crux of the story involves getting inmates to register or change their enrollment to the Conservative Party, giving the Democrat challenger, Gary Gordon, an edge in the general election.  Gordon ended up capturing the Conservative line by a narrow margin, but losing the general election to Mahar.

Reports show a labor union leader for the corrections officers, Kevin Rogers, allegedly dropping off 140 voter registration forms that enrolled people in the Conservative Party, of which four have been confirmed to be inmates.

Via the Times Union:

Correction officers at Rensselaer County Jail pushed to register inmates to vote in last fall’s primary and general election as part of an effort to unseat Sheriff Jack Mahar.
State and federal law enforcement agencies have launched broad investigations into the activities of the correction officers, including whether their initiative to garner inmates’ votes violated state or federal laws. The probes are part of a broader investigation that began when a group of correction officers accused their labor leaders of fraud and looting union dues for personal use.
The Internal Revenue Service and U.S. Attorney’s office are involved in the investigation, according to two people briefed on the matter. The investigations follow years of documented civil rights violations inside the county correctional facility, including systemic beatings of prisoners, strip-search policies that were declared unconstitutional by a federal court and sexual assaults of inmates.
Representatives for the U.S. Attorney’s office and the state attorney general declined comment.

While inmates exercising their right to vote is not illegal – it is rare according to Republican election’s commissioner, Larry Bugbee – having the corrections officers solicit them or help them register, is.

Gordon, to his credit, voiced unease at the prospect of taking such actions.

“There came a point in time during my campaign that I became aware of a drive to get Conservative voters, to get people to register,” Gordon said. “Shortly after that there was discussion to talk to inmates, to get inmates to register, and I put a stop to that. … I don’t even know who was in the room when we were discussing it. Piche or Rogers may have been there. The decision was made not to solicit inmates.”

These latest allegations against the officer’s union – Sheriffs Employees Association of Rensselaer County (SEARCO) – stem from another investigation which alleges that Mark A. Piche and Rogers, president and vice-president of the union respectively, used tens of thousands of dollars in employee dues to hold parties at strip clubs, bars, and to make donations to political campaigns.

Two weeks ago, the Times Union reported:

The former leaders of a Rensselaer County jail officers union spent tens of thousands of dollars in union money for outings at top-scale restaurants, strip clubs, bars and to make contributions to political campaigns and organizations in which they had a personal interest.

Apparently, the union leaders covered up their transgressions by refusing to reveal their itemized expenditures, instead leaving over $14,000 worth of transactions with the vague label of ‘donation’, and another untraceable $8,000 in ATM withdrawals.  Banking records obtained by the Times Union however, show some questionable transactions made using the union debit card.

On Jan. 3, 2008, the records show, the union’s debit card was used to pay for a $1,611.75 tab at Angelo’s 677 Prime, an upscale Albany steakhouse. The same day, records show the union’s debit card was used for $52.85 in purchases from Troy Food Mart; $81.83 at a Troy diner; $55 at an Asian-style restaurant; and a withdrawal of $103.50 from an ATM at a topless dance club, Double Vision, in Halfmoon.
Two weeks earlier, on Dec. 21, 2007, the debit card was used for a $62 purchase at Valenti’s Pub in Troy and also for two withdrawals totaling $344 from the same topless bar in Halfmoon. On other occasions, the card was used to pay for multi-hundred-dollar tabs at area bars and restaurants.

They also used their debit card to either donate or purchase tickets to events made by a local professional boxing promotion to the tune of nearly $2,000, over $2,000 in donations for a youth baseball team, and a whopping $20,000 in restaurant and bar tabs at Piche’s family owned restaurant.

Piche and Gordon were topics of conversation in a very heated election between Mahar and Gordon last year, as they tried to get the Democrat candidate to fix tickets in exchange for their endorsement.

During last year’s campaign, audiotapes of recorded telephone conversations between union officials, including Piche, and Gordon, the Rensselaer County district attorney’s investigator who challenged Mahar for the job, were released by the sheriff’s department. The tapes revealed union members apparently pressuring Gordon to help fix traffic tickets for their relatives in exchange for their endorsement and work on his campaign.

Gordon flat-out denies any role in the alleged scheme, and the taped conversations offer no proof to the contrary.  But while Gordon’s role may have only been as pawn to the union whim, the union corruption can not be ignored.

These findings also come on the heels of a major voter fraud case in upstate New York, where absentee ballots were allegedly forged by Democrat operatives in an attempt to secure the Working Families Party line in the elections.

Perhaps it’s about time we acknowledge upstate New York as a contender for the most politically corrupt area in the nation.  Chicago would be proud.

Please read the reports here and here

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Breaking: Working Families Party Operatives Testify in Voter Fraud Case

February 6, 2012 at 10:51 pm (ACORN, Ballot Fraud, Corruption, Ed McDonough, James Welch, Karen Scharff, Michael LoPorto, New York, Rensselaer County, Voter Fraud, WFP, Working Families Party)

The ballot fraud case in Troy, New York, shifted from a long parade of defrauded voter testimony, and focused on two operatives in the Working Families Party (WFP) Monday  – Thomas Aldrich and James Welch.  The trial involves two Democrats – former City Councilman Michael LoPorto, and Rensselaer County Board of Elections Commissioner Edward McDonough.  The two have been accused of over 100 combined felonies in connection with the alleged defrauding of the 2009 Working Families Party primary.

Aldrich testified about his volunteer efforts on behalf of the Democrat party, which included knocking on doors and handing out brochures.  McDonough’s defense attorney, Brian Premo, pointed out that Aldrich’s name is on 13 of the allegedly fraudulent ballots.  Aldrich however, said that “He was not involved in any wrongdoing, and had no reason to believe anything illegal was happening…”

Perhaps more intriguing was the testimony of James Welch, Chairman of the Rensselaer County WFP.  A 2009 report by the Times Union indicates that some of the absentee ballots were returnable either to Democrat or WFP operatives, including Welch and Aldrich.  In a statement at that time, Welch claimed that “my conduct was strictly proper”.

However, on January 26th, State Police Investigator John Ogden testified that Welch was given a cooperation agreement to testify in the case.

Despite such lofty status as Chairman of county WFP, Welch apparently had little idea of how the rules involving absentee ballots worked, even though it would impact the integrity of his party’s ballot line.

From the Troy Record:

James Welch, the chair of the county Working Families Party at the time of the primary, rounded out Monday’s testimony. Welch said that on the morning of the primary, John Brown called him to ask if he could put Welch’s name on the “release to” line on five absentee ballot applications. Welch said he didn’t understand what Brown meant, since he wasn’t familiar with the applications, but said that Brown assured him it was a good move because “it would look better” to have a WFP member’s name in that slot instead of a Democrat’s name.

He said he asked Brown if that was allowed, and when Brown assured him it was, he agreed. Brown pled guilty to a felony late last year and is looking at six months behind bars.

John Brown was a former Democrat Councilman.

Welch went on to state that he received a phone call later in the week, in which Brown suggested that “We should get our stories straight.”  Welch responded, “It sounds like you’re asking me to commit perjury in a courtroom setting.”

The question is, why would Welch or any member of the WFP need a cooperation agreement to testify?  If they were truly simply ignorant of the process, naive pawns in the voter fraud being schemed by the Democrats, then why wouldn’t their honest testimony be enough.

Worse, Welch seemingly isn’t the only member of the WFP who was ignorant of the voter fraud being perpetrated upon innocent people using their ballot line.  Karen Scharff, co-chair of the Capital District WFP at the time, the branch which controlled Welch’s Rensselaer County arm, had this to say:

“It’s extremely troubling that local Democrats in Troy appear to have committed fraud in an attempt to win a primary fight with Troy Republicans for our ballot line.”

The really troubling matter with Scharff’s WFP is that they’re a stone’s throw away from the influence of the New York Communities for Change – formerly known as ACORN.  At the time that this ballot fraud in Troy was allegedly being carried out, the two organizations had several ties:

  • RedState has demonstrated that the WFP was founded by key members of ACORN, and shares many of its political strategies.
  • The WFP has listed ACORN as an affiliate program directly on their Web site.
  • Roger Stone called the New York Working Families Party “one of ACORN’s most successful projects”.
  • The New York Post analyzed the many shady dealings of the WFP, and its affiliation with ACORN.
As for Scharff, who co-chaired the Capital District Branch and thus oversaw Welch’s county branch, she also shares a history with the uber-corrupt ACORN:

  • Scharff has been involved in health care meetings coordinated by her group, Citizen Action, and ACORN.  A picture of one such event appears on the Times Union blog.
  • Her name appears on a letter of support for ACORN, in which criticism of their work is labeled as ‘mainly partisan’ attacks.
  • An article regarding the power of fusion politics, a tactic used by the WFP, shows Scharff’s activism in the election of Albany District Attorney, David Soares. The article covers the tandem work of the WFP and Citizen Action, along with the strong ties that the WFP has with ACORN. One key element here is the mention of Bertha Lewis who is described as ‘the executive director of ACORN’s New York City chapter’. Lewis also serves as co-chair for the WFP.
  • Another article celebrating the Soares victory appears in the Nation, in which Scharff’s WFP work is mentioned alongside the work of Dan Cantor. Cantor also serves as Executive Director for the WFP, and was national organizer for the ‘New Party’ in the ‘90s, a socialist group with strong ties to ACORN. In fact, the New Ground described the New Party’s ‘biggest asset and biggest liability’ as ACORN.
  • Scharff serves on the Advisory Board for the Center for Working Families, alongside Jon Kest, Director of the New York Association of Community Organization for Reform Now.
Welch’s testimony is scheduled to continue on Wednesday.

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Justice Department Officials Accepted Bribes, and Attorney General Eric Holder Knew About It

February 2, 2012 at 10:13 am (Bribe, Corruption, DOJ, Eric Holder, Justice Department, Virgin Islands)

But, but, he had know idea what was going on in his own department…

A stunning report from the Daily Caller:

A U.S. Justice Department source has told The Daily Caller that at least two DOJ prosecutors accepted cash bribes from allegedly corrupt finance executives who were indicted under court seal within the past 13 months, but never arrested or prosecuted.

The sitting governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands, his attorney general and an unspecified number of Virgin Islands legislators also accepted bribes, the source said, adding that U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder is aware prosecutors and elected officials were bribed and otherwise compromised, but has not held anyone accountable.

The bribed officials, an attorney with knowledge of the investigation told TheDC, remain on the taxpayers’ payroll at the Justice Department without any accountability. The DOJ source said Holder does not want to admit public officials accepted bribes while under his leadership.

Isn’t his alleged lack of knowledge – despite clear evidence of his actual knowledge – of Justice Department corruption just as worthy a reason for Holder’s resignation?

Read further details on the report of corruption at the DOJ here…

Photo Credit:  AP

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New York Democrats – Voter Fraud is ‘A Normal Political Tactic’

January 18, 2012 at 12:05 am (2012 Elections, Anthony DeFiglio, Anthony Renna, Carmella Mantello, Corruption, Democrats, James Gordon, New York, Troy, Voter Fraud, WFP, Working Families Party)

As the city of Troy, NY, awaits jury selection in the first trial involving two Democrats and their alleged roles in a “massive”voter fraud scheme, new details have emerged from the investigation.  Details involving two other veteran political operatives that have already pleaded guilty. 
According to a recent Fox News report, Anthony Renna, a Democrat guilty of second-degree forgery, and Anthony DeFiglio, a Democrat guilty of first-degree falsifying business records, are trying to drag all local politicians, regardless of party affiliation, down with the ship.  
Thus far, eight people have been charged in connection with the ballot fraud investigation, four of which have pleaded guilty.
Reports emerging from the investigation indicate that the Democrats are trying to implicate Republicans of the same conduct they have been charged with.  According to the state police, Renna and DeFiglio both claimed that, “voter fraud is an accepted way of winning elections, and faking absentee ballots was commonplace.”
Renna explained that the process of handing in forged ballots and fake votes ensures that “ballots are voted correctly.”  He adds, “‘Voted correctly’ is a term used for a forged application or ballot.”
DeFiglio added that such fraud is actually “an ongoing scheme and it occurs on both sides of the aisle.  What appears as a huge conspiracy to nonpolitical persons is really a normal political tactic.”
Local Republicans, presumably the party being referred to on the other side of the aisle, are vehemently denying that ballot fraud was,or is, a normal political tactic.
James Gordon, Chairman of the Troy Republican Committee said, having been a part of the election process for a number of years that he has, “never heard or seen anything resembling these actions.”
He added, “In fact, after the Democrats were caught in 2009 the records at the Board of Elections were searched.  More cases of fraud were found dating back to 2007 or 2008, all attributed to Democrat candidates and operatives.  Nothing from any GOP members.”
One particular case involved former Troy City Clerk, William McInerney, who resigned from his position after being implicated for falsifying absentee ballots dating back to 2007, the year he helped Democrats seize control of the Council.
Recent Troy Mayoral candidate and former Troy City Councilmember, Carmella Mantello, also denied that these election tactics were ever commonplace in the GOP.
“This ‘practice’ was never part of the electoral process.”
With eight Democrats facing charges in the investigation, Gordon sums up the situation by saying, “Democrats wanted to win and it appears at any cost.”
“This was greed, ignorance, lack of ethics, and laziness.  Bad people doing bad things.”
Photo Credit:  Times Union

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Eighth Democrat Indicted in Upstate New York Ballot Fraud Investigation

January 11, 2012 at 4:22 pm (2012 Elections, ACORN, Corruption, Democrats, Gary Galuski, Karen Scharff, New York, New York Communities for Change, Roger Stone, Troy, Voter Fraud, WFP, Working Families Party)

Welcome Instapundit readers…

Gird your loins for 2012, conservatives.  A voter fraud case in upstate New York should serve as a reminder of what crooked politicians are willing to try during an election year.

The election fraud in Troy grows ever larger…

Via the Times Union:

A grand jury investigating ballot fraud in a 2009 primary indicted City Councilman Gary Galuski.  He is the eighth person to face charges in connection with the probe.

Galuski was arraigned Wednesday afternoon in Rensselaer County Court by Greene County Court Judge George J. Pulver. Galuski pleaded not guilty.

Galuski was charged with four counts of first-degree falsifying business records.

The case centers around fraudulent attempts to get Democrat candidates on the ballot for the Working Families Party.  The problem with the WFP?  Roger Stone reports:

The WFP has been proven to be nothing more than a front for ACORN and its left-ward agenda.

WFP is used by ACORN as a sledge hammer to force Democrats to toe the Union line.  WFP was founded by key members of ACORN, and shares many of its political strategies.  The WFP has listed ACORN as an affiliate program directly on their Web site.

For those thinking ACORN has disbanded in New York, think again.  They simply had a name change to  New York Communities for Change.


I covered corruption in the local WFP a year ago:

The question is, why wouldn’t the Working Families Party fight for the integrity of their own voting and registration process by ensuring these things do not reoccur? The answer is, they are nothing than a bastion of corrupt politics.

What you won’t see in any media report is the long-established history between the WFP and the uber-corrupt former organization known as ACORN.  ACORN has recently fallen on hard times but much like the Hydra from Greek mythology, if you cut off one head, two more will grow in it’s place.

The WFP has been shown to be nothing more than a front for ACORN and its radical policies. Why?

  • RedState has demonstrated that the WFP was founded by key members of ACORN, and shares many of its political strategies.
  • The WFP has listed ACORN as an affiliate program directly on their Web site.
  • Roger Stone calls the New York Working Families Party “one of ACORN’s most successful projects”.
  • The New York Post analyzes the many shady dealings of the WFP, and its affiliation with ACORN.

When the upstate voter fraud case first broke, the Times Union interviewed Karen Scharff, co-chair of the Capital District WFP.  A little digging on Scharff’s political history reveals the following:

  • Scharff has been involved in health care meetings coordinated by her group, Citizen Action, and ACORN.  A picture of one such event appears on the Times Union blog.
  • Her name appears on a letter of support for ACORN, in which criticism of their work is labeled as ‘mainly partisan’ attacks.
  • An article regarding the power of fusion politics, a tactic used by the WFP, shows Scharff’s activism in the election of Albany District Attorney, David Soares. The article covers the tandem work of the WFP and Citizen Action, along with the strong ties that the WFP has with ACORN. One key element here is the mention of Bertha Lewis who is described as ‘the executive director of ACORN’s New York City chapter’. Lewis also serves as co-chair for the WFP.
  • Another article celebrating the Soares victory appears in the Nation, in which Scharff’s WFP work is mentioned alongside the work of Dan Cantor. Cantor also serves as Executive Director for the WFP, and was national organizer for the ‘New Party’ in the ‘90s, a socialist group with strong ties to ACORN. In fact, the New Ground described the New Party’s ‘biggest asset and biggest liability’ as ACORN.
  • Scharff serves on the Advisory Board for the Center for Working Families, alongside Jon Kest, Director of the New York Association of Community Organization for Reform Now.

Scharff, of course, continues to show up on advisory boards with members from the newly named ACORN.

Read more of my report at Emerging Corruption…

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