In the largest campaign missile launched so far the East Hampton Democratic Committee Monday filed a formal complaint with the New York State Board of Elections alleging Councilman Dominick Stanzione's reelection committee filed a false campaign finance report.
According to campaign chair Chris Kelley, the committee Friends of Dominick Stanzione reported no activity -- no money coming in or going out -- for the six month period from January 2013 and ending July 11.
But, say the Dems, Stanzione placed ads in local papers during that timeframe. Both the expenditures for the ads and the source of funds to pay for them are required by law to be disclosed in the periodic campaign finance report. Even if the ads were donated, they would have to be reported as contributions in-kind and the donor's name disclosed, a release from Kelley states.
The Democratic Campaign Committee's release notes Stanzione is the treasurer of his own committee, "with responsibility for filing the report and for its contents." Intentionally filing a false campaign finance report can be prosecuted as a Class E felony.
"I have a new treasurer and she is going to amend the report," Stanzione said Monday. He said he paid for the ads with a personal check and didn't put the expenditure through his campaign fund. "I made a personal loan to my campaign to pay for the ads," he said. An amendment to the report will be made "immediately," he said.
"This is typical Democratic behavior," he said of the press release, which is also the subject of local radio ads. "They're trying to distract us from the important issues of the campaign. Slinging mud seems to be their tactic," he complained, adding, "This is just all hat and no cattle."
Stanzione is campaigning to retain his seat on the East Hampton Town Board. He's running on the Republican and Independence Party lines with Fred Overton, the second GOP town board hopeful. The pair is squaring off against Democrats Job Potter and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez. Democrat Larry Cantwell is running for supervisor with Potter and Burke-Gonzalez. He's unopposed and is also endorsed by the Independence Party.