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



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!” ( 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

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.


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.