Media misses key ethical questions in U.S. Senate race in NY

Lack of insightful media coverage of political dirty tricks leads to “Stop D’Amato” Facebook campaign

Washington, DC.- May 27, 2010—You’ve seen Facebook sites that try to find a million fans of something. Now, thanks to inadequate media coverage in New York, a Facebook fan site is being used to educate the voting public. Created by America Outraged Political Action Committee, the recently launched “1,000+ People to STOP the D’Amato Machine!” (http://www.facebook.com/stopdamato) seeks to find over a thousand people by May 28 to “like” the page and voice their disapproval of political power broker and former U.S. Senator Al D’Amato.

The site argues D’Amato is engaging in cronyism for future political kickbacks and wielding “quid-pro-quo” influence over a U.S. Senate race in New York by having supported both Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand as well one of her weakest Republican opponents, Bruce Blakeman.

“Ever since he lost his U.S. Senate seat to Chuck Schumer, Al D’Amato has used the tactics he developed in Congress to ‘mentor’ younger politicians, exercise his political clout for favors, to usurp the law, and leave taxpayers with the bill as he lined his pockets,” the page reads. “He has received as much as $500,000 for a single telephone call.”

Lynn Yowell, co-founder or America Outraged PAC, said the Facebook page was part of an ongoing effort aimed at informing the public about how D’Amato uses unsavory tactics in the nominating and endorsement process to control who gets the nomination. “We’re tired of unelected influence-peddlers with far too much influence over the political process, the legislative process, and the taxing and spending habits of local New York legislatures,” Yowell said.

The Facebook page also features a fan-created YouTube video of D’Amato set to the James Brown song, “The Boss,” showing various clips of D’Amato expressing his love for the “combat” of poker juxtaposed with video of him supporting different candidates and cursing on the Howard Stern show.

America Outraged PAC has also started an educational “Stop D’Amato” blog that can be accessed at http://StopDamato.wordpress.com.

About America Outraged PAC

The mission of America Outraged PAC is to achieve accountability and responsibility in government, by communicating the voices of U.S. citizens who:

· Demand accountability of those holding elected office, those appointed by elected officials, and those professing to be unbiased reporters of news and facts
· Demand that lawmakers read and understand the legislation they vote on
· Urgently require a limit on spending
· Oppose Congressional perks while the nation endures a severe recession
· Oppose bureaucrats making life-and-death decisions about individual citizens’ health.

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Campaign For Accountability Highlights Ex-senator Al D’amato

PAC Project Dedicated to Exposing Tricks and Political Machines in Elections

Washington, DC.- May 27, 2010 What does an out-of-control state or federal deficit have to do with campaign tricks and political machines? According to America Outraged Political Action Committee (PAC), plenty. Political trickery or “machines,” methods that prevent a popular candidate from achieving nomination or election, are used specifically for the purpose of usurping the process that ensures the voters’ interests are legitimately represented. When this occurs, the small segment of supporters expect a return for their campaign “investment” such as salary or pension hikes. The voters who were not legitimately represented are then disadvantaged still more, because they are left with the bill.

America Outraged PAC wants to stop this form of “taxation without representation” and is initiating a series of blog projects aimed at exposing the unsavory practices of political “power brokers.” Lynn Yowell, a co-founder or America Outraged PAC, announced today that the organization’s first project is “Stop D’Amato,” an effort aimed at informing the public about how the ex-Senator from New York, Alfonse D’Amato, uses various tactics in the nominating and endorsement process to control who gets the nomination. “The voters in New York State have been dissatisfied with elected officials—from the high spending to the frequent scandals,” Yowell said. “It all starts with the candidates. While we can’t ensure a high-quality slate of candidates, we can provide transparency and dissemination of critical information and evidence.”

Yowell went on to say that D’Amato is the “poster child” of back room dealers. “It’s obvious that promises had to have been made to a number of donors, she said, “and the chits start being collected in the form of pay and pension hikes. We see this with the teachers’ unions, for example.” Pensions, like Medicare and Social Security at the federal level, can balloon rapidly, well beyond affordability for a state.

America Outraged PAC has developed a blog site that contains information about D’Amato’s past practices and relationships relevant to the current statewide elections in New York. Web visitors can view a social network chart of D’Amato’s relationships, such as his association with Kirsten Gillibrand, the Democrat candidate and current office-holder whom he recommended to New York Gov. David Paterson to replace Hillary Clinton. D’Amato surprised Republicans when he endorsed and threw support to former Nassau County Legislature presiding officer Bruce Blakeman, a local politician without any significant experience or accomplishments. Political observers have commented that D’Amato’s backing of Blakeman has been, in reality, a way to ensure that his protégé Gillibrand wins the Senate seat to which she was appointed.

The “Stop D’Amato” blog can be accessed at http://StopDamato.wordpress.com/.

About America Outraged PAC

The mission of America Outraged PAC is to achieve accountability and responsibility in government, by communicating the voices of U.S. citizens who:

• Demand accountability of those holding elected office, those appointed by elected officials, and those professing to be unbiased reporters of news and facts
• Demand that lawmakers read and understand the legislation they vote on
• Urgently require a limit on spending
• Oppose Congressional perks while the nation endures a severe recession • Oppose bureaucrats making life-and-death decisions about individual citizens’ health.

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Social Network Concept of the Gillibrand – D’Amato Influence Machine

Kirsten Gillibrand’s Network of Influence

* Convicted on two counts of mail and wire fraud.
** Partner in First Grafton Corp., source of evidence in Joe Bruno corruption trial.
*** Contributed $25,000 each, exactly one month prior to Paterson’s appointment of Gillibrand to U.S. Senate.
**** Instrumental in Gillibrand’s election to House, by reportedly leaking domestic violence report about opponent one week prior to election.

The diagram above is a social network-style representation of just a few of D’Amato’s political connections.  Nodes on the network are colored based on assumed political affiliations and sized based on the volume and distribution of the connections.   Arrows represent relationships and transactions. The diagram illustrates several network “transactions” — for example, the financial assistance Myron Shevell gave his daughter and then-son-in-law Bruce Blakeman enabled them to donate to George Pataki’s campaign chest.  Pataki, in turn, appointed Nancy Shevell Blakeman to the Metropolitan Transit Authority Board and husband Bruce to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey.

The diagram will be updated with new information and augmented to reflect past relationships and transactions. Ultimately it will represent the former senator’s sphere of influence  over politics in New York state. Contributions have obviously spread from D’Amato to all manner of Democrats and Republicans in New York, and most likely elicited “repayment” or favors in some form or another.  D’Amato’s $250,000 funding boost to David Paterson, for example, enabled D’Amato to push the governor for Kirsten Gillibrand to take the reigns in the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton.

Now it seems D’Amato is hell-bent on getting Bruce Blakeman to win the GOP primary to challenge Gillibrand, even attending his official Senate announcement. Has there been a change of heart for the man in the middle, or is it just another ploy to eliminate the strongest competition his darling Kirsten Gillibrand faces from the opposing party?

In either case, D’Amato’s influence runs deeper than many are willing to admit. Now is the time to shut down the machine.

So who is D’Amato really FOR in the U.S. Senate race?

D’Amato has supposedly endorsed Bruce Blakeman for Senate,  and has lately been selling his soul to get Conservative and Republican endorsements.  Even the most amateur of political observers conclude that good old Al has been desperately seeking the Republican nomination for Blakeman, in order to ensure Gillibrand’s retention of her ill-gotten seat. Two pictures are worth a thousand words; and, remember, they are taken less than 18 months apart.

On the left we have Blakeman’s formal announcement of his candidacy for U.S. Senate. And on the right, we have the Gillibrand announcement.  Anyone who has already endorsed Bruce Blakeman may want to study these photos and re-think their decision.