Espada's Filing Mess
July 17th, 2009
New Senate Majority Leader Sen. Pedro Espada, Jr., may have netted himself $2 million dollars in member items to distribute in his district, but if you were to go by current campaign filings you would think Espada has been neglecting fund raising for his own campaign.
Advocates are concerned that the new majority leader continues to shirk election law despite the attention he received for leading the June 8 coup and then returning to the Democrats. Candidates from around the state filed campaign finance information on or before July 15. New York Public Interest Group’s Bill Mahoney, who compiles campaign finance data for state officials, noted that Espada’s filings were missing.
According to Board of Elections spokesperson Bob Brehn, Espada has missed the July 15 filing deadline for his recently created campaign committee, New Yorkers for Espada. Espada is allegedly using that committee going forward so as to alleviate all the confusion over his various other campaign committees.
Espada’s attorney Daniel Pagano said that he filed the form electronically and there might be some lag time. “I will check on that,” he said promising to contact the BOE. “Sometimes it doesn’t just appear online.” Jimmy Vielkind says that Espada told him an untruth regarding the filing.
“Gee, what a surprise!” said Michael McKee of Tenants PAC. McKee has been a dogged critic of Espada. He is particularly interested in seeing who funds Espada’s campaigns because, he says, Espada has been bottling up pro-tenant legislation because of his ties to developers and real estate interests.
Brehm said the BOE continues to discuss how Espada can come up to date with filings for a slew of his campaign committees. Espada has previously blamed “incompetent staff,” bad advice, his political enemies and even the BOE itself for missing multiple required filings.
Mahoney said he thinks it is time for Espada to take it upon himself to clear up the matter and release all his campaign finance information to the public. “I think at this point he should just issue a press release with all the information to clear things up,” said Mahoney.
Under scrutiny from both Democrats and the press earlier this year, Espada filed a number of “no activity” statements for the Espada 2004 campaign committee. That means that Espada 2004, even though it is listed as an active committee, did not raise any money for Espada during his 2008 primary battle or during the first part of 2009. The Espada For the People PAC does have donations listed online from 2007 and 2008. In total that PAC lists $76,150 in contributions. It listed only $15,0oo in expenditures. Observers say Espada’s filings do not realistically reflect how much the candidate spent during the primary last year.
Pagano said that he has delivered a hard copy report detailing all income and expenditures for the 2008 race to the BOE. He said not all the data is available online. Pagano then faxed me the entirety of that filing. I am currently reviewing it.
“Pedro Espada has talked the reform talk for months; now it’s time for him to actually walk the walk and act in the name of transparency.” wrote Mahoney in a statement. ” He is more delinquent than any other Senator with his filings, while as Majority Leader, he should be setting an example.”By David King on July 17, 2009, 9:00 pm
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