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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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.