Sleeping With The Enemy? Loyalty Questions Plague U.S. Senate Race In NY

Ex-Senator D’Amato under fire for tilting election to Gillibrand at Republicans’ expense

Published on May 27, 2010

by Official Wire

(OfficialWire)

WASHINGTON, DC

While the media continues to call the New York Senate race a done deal in favor of Democratic incumbent Kirsten Gillibrand, shady subplots involving her rise to prominence remain unexamined. America Outraged Political Action Committee has been seeking to expose what it calls “an egregious case of political cronyism” involving former Republican senator and political power broker Al D’Amato and Gillibrand, the daughter of a prominent lobbyist.

Among the connections:

Gillibrand’s father, Doug Rutnik, a contributor mostly to the Democratic Party, “is an Albany insider and lobbyist whose ties to former GOP powerhouses Joe Bruno, George Pataki and Al D’Amato are legendary.” –Village Voice (1/22/09)
“Gillibrand won her seat [after being down 19 points] when a state police domestic violence report about the GOP incumbent, John Sweeney, was mysteriously leaked, ostensibly with the acquiescence of the Pataki administration.”—Village Voice (1/22/09)
Rutnik is also one-time boyfriend of Pataki Chief of Staff Zenia Mucha; Pataki has chosen not to run against Gillibrand even though polls showed he had the best chance.
Gillibrand worked for both D’Amato and Cuomo, who never conducted an investigation when he was attorney general of the Sweeney leak.
D’Amato was front and center on the same platform with Gillibrand the night she was appointed senator.
D’Amato, who controls many country chairs that have fallen in line to support Gillibrand, has also given his own personal support to weak Republican candidate Bruce Blakeman, which could easily be viewed as gift-wrapping the election for Gillibrand.
Lynn Yowell, co-founder or America Outraged PAC, says the group recently launched “1,000+ People to STOP the D’Amato Machine!” (http://www.facebook.com/stopdamato) that seeks to find over a thousand people to “like” the page and voice their disapproval of political power broker and former U.S. Senator Al D’Amato. America Outraged 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.

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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Fed up with cronyism, “pay for play,” and dirty tricks?

It’s time to stop the madness, and let competent, honest people represent New York throughout the state and in the U.S. Congress.

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.

Under D’Amato’s guidance, Pataki led New York State to the edge of bankruptcy

from  “RINO Fixers Are Part of the GOP’s Problem,” by Deroy Murdock, National Review Online, February 26, 2009 4:00 A.M.

At the state level, governors like New York’s George Pataki and California’s Arnold Schwarzenegger pandered to government-employee unions and opened the spending spigots, to taxpayers’ ongoing horror.

Other culprits include the state-level influence peddlers who seem more interested in cash than in free-market and conservative principles. New York ’s former U.S. senator Alfonse D’Amato is a perfect example of this breed. “Senator Pothole” personally discovered an obscure state senator, George Pataki, from Peekskill, N.Y. After being muscled through the state GOP convention, Pataki scored the party’s nomination and won the governorship in 1994. After some limited first-term tax cutting, Pataki’s spend-o-rama began, swelling the state budget 79.5 percent — from $63.3 billion in 1994 to $113.6 billion in 2006. This was nearly double the inflation rate. D’Amato served as Pataki’s chief cheerleader and arguably has become New York’s most influential Republican — to the degree that party label still fits.

D’Amato most recently raised eyebrows while he stood shoulder to shoulder with prominent New York Democrats as Gov. David Paterson introduced Rep. Kirsten Gillibrand as the Empire State’s new U.S. senator. Gillibrand replaced Hillary Clinton after she departed for the State Department.New York Republicans thought D’Amato looked perfectly at home among the state’s top donkeys.

As Wayne Barrett reported in the January 27 Village Voice, D’Amato hosted a $1,000-per-plate fundraiser for Paterson last November 2. D’Amato’s ambidexterity also led him to host a benefit for GOP senator John McCain last March.

D’Amato’s New York- and Washington-based lobbying firm, Park Strategies, has served him well. He famously earned $500,000 for making just one phone call in 2004 to persuade former Metropolitan Transit Authority chairman E. Virgil Conway to help facilitate a $230 million loan to the company that owns the bus and subway agency’s headquarters building. D’Amato’s client in that transaction, Tamir Sapir, is a partner in a company called Bayrock/Sapir. It, in turn, donated $5,000 to Paterson last September.

So D’Amato is the deal-maker or go-between, among other roles.  He lines up big donations, and then ensures that the elected official delivers.  It is also obvious that he “advises” as part of his fee for fundraising or matchmaking.

Al D’Amato will continue to damage New York politics unless you stop him now

“Gillibrand’s Dirty Tricks Will AG Cuomo Get The Facts ?” at STONEZONE by Roger Stone, January 25, 2009.

We lead with this post because it relates directly to the current Senate race and the upcoming conventions in New York state.

The appointment by New York Governor David Paterson of Congresswoman Kirsten Gillibrand to the vacant senate seat of Hillary Clinton raises serious questions surrounding the illegal dirty tricks employed to elect Gillibrand to Congress in the first place.

In 2006 Governor George Pataki’s Chief of Staff Zenia Mucha illegally obtained New York State Police records regarding a domestic dispute between then Congressman John Sweeney and his wife.


Wiese: Got the police docs

The records were obtained by former State Police captain Daniel Wiese, who functioned as a dirty tricks operative for Pataki and later Governor Eliot Spitzer. Wiese was also the operative who pressured State police Superintendent Preston Fenton to utilize the State police to spy on Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno and to fabricate records to smear Bruno. Fenton was forced to resign over the Bruno smear effort.

Mucha, a former aide to Senator Alfonse D’Amato, was the live-in girlfriend of Gillibrand’s father, Albany lobbyist Doug Rutnick. The State Police records were leaked to the anti-Sweeney Albany Times Union,


Mucha: Had the docs leaked

perhaps the most biased newspaper in the nation, just six days before the election, causing Sweeney’s defeat and Gillibrand’s election. Prior to the leaks Sweeney lead in the race by 19 points according to the New York Times .

Sweeney was targeted by Mucha and the Pataki dirty tricks operation because of his growing criticism of Pataki’s move to the left and his alliance with 1199, the Public Employees Union. Pataki’s agreement with the union in return for endorsement of his re-election virtually bankrupt the state.

To recap:

1) Governor Pataki was a protege of Al D’Amato’s when he was in the state legislature.

2) Gillebrand’s father was living with his girlfriend, Zenia Mucha, a former aide to D’Amato.

3) Police records concerning a domestic dispute between then-Congressman John Sweeney and his wife were illegally obtained by a Pataki operative and then leaked conveniently to an anti-Sweeney newspaper just before the election. Gillebrand won.

Equally troubling is Gillibrand’s former internship with Senator D’Amato who’s misdeeds date to his illegal requirement that Town of Hempstead employees kick back 1% of their salaries to the Nassau County Republican Organization.

That Governor Paterson allowed D’Amato to stand front and center at Gillibrand’s announcement press conference , although no doubt good for D’Amato’s influence peddling business, has inflamed New York Democrats and virtually insured public scrutiny of D’Amato’s and Rutnick’s Washington lobby clients and Gillibrand’s votes and activities impacting them.

The shady circumstances surrounding Gillbrand’s first election and her conservative record also insure a Democratic primary for the seat in 2010. The idea that up-state voters would cheer Gillibrand’s appointment is ridiculous- voters in Buffalo, Rochester and Syracuse have never heard of her.