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Chasing Pigeon

Steve Pigeon at the DNC in Denver.

Former Erie County Democratic Party chairman Steve Pigeon at the DNC in Denver.

Throughout the Sam Hoyt-Barbra Kavanaugh campaign and after it, Hoyt supporter Jeremy Toth accused Responsible New York—the commitee funded by Paychex founder and Sabres owner Tom Golisano and managed by former Erie County Democratic Party chairman Steve Pigeon—of illegally coordinating its activities with Kavanaugh’s operation.

Unauthorized committees can spend as much as they’d like to support a candidate, but they can’t coordinate their activities with that candidate’s authorized committee; if they could, contribution limits would be rendered meaningless. Such coordination is a felony.

Last week Toth present his case to Erie County District attorney Frank Clark, who this week got a hold of Buffalo News political reporter Bob McCarthy, who subsequently wrote this piece about Toth’s allegations. Clark told McCarthy he would consider the evidence of coordination Toth had presented.

Toth has sent his package of materials to District Attorney Mike Green of Monroe County (where responsible New York is headquartered) and District Attorney P. David Soares of Albany County. You can have a look at  Toth’s case for yourself. The first four pages make the argument; everything that follows is supporting evidence.

Some of the main points:

—Pigeon was an authorized check signer for Joe Mesi’s campaign, and Mesi subsequently benefited from Responsible New York once it was formed in July (Michele Ianello, one of Mesi’s primary opponents, made the same complaint to state election officials; her complaint is included in Toth’s materials);
—Pigeon associate Jack O’Donnell worked on the Kavanaugh campaign while simultaneously helping to organize Responsible New York;
—O’Donnell subsequently benefited financially from Responsible New York’s expenditures on behalf of Kavanaugh;
—further overlap between personnel associated with both those two campaigns and with Responsible New York render incredible the notion that there was no communication between the camps;
—the manner in which Kavanaugh’s campaign spent money suggests its operatives knew how and when Responsible New York would use its resources on Kavanaugh’s behalf.

    Read it for yourself, see what you think. Toth acknowledged that what he’s presented to the DAs is circumstantial, but believes it is enough to warrant a more thorough investigation, including subpoena of emails, phone records, etc., which might prove or disprove his allegations.

    More on this tomorrow.

    • It says here that “Toth acknowledged that what he’s presented to the DAs is circumstantial.” and the Buffalo News article says, “Is there proof of the coordination at this point?” Toth asked in August. “No.”

      Sounds like rather than move past the bitter election and work to improve Buffalo and New York, the Hoyt campaign would rather spend their time on revenge.

    • The amount of money that I can spend on a campaign is limited by NYS law. If I can say that I am independent committee I can spend as much as I like. This thing stinks: unlimited contributions, shady operatives, fake payees and fake groups. No wonder the people have lost faith in our democratic system. This abuse should be stopped before it further erodes our faith in the system.

    • Peter A Reese

      If the NYS Election Laws stink, why hasn’t Sam Hoyt reformed them the last 17 years, rather than having his gang whine about their unfairness?

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