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Decision Notification Form
ELECTION: CANDIDATES: CLAIMANT: DATE COMPLAINTS RECEIVED: ITEM:
House of Representatives, NY-25 Maggie Brooks Louise Slaughter Maggie Brooks
October 8, 2012 A campaign mailer from the New York State Democratic Committee with the first page with a picture of Maggie Brooks stating “FBI Investigation, Pay-to-Play. Maggie Brooks’ Record: Stolen Tax Dollars…FBI Investigation…Pay-to-Play Politics…Ethical Lapses”. The next page states the following: “Maggie Brooks’ scandals cost taxpayers over $423 million. Stolen Tax Dollars: Brooks’ husband, who got a brand new job at the Water Authority, received a special waiver allowing him to double-dip into taxpayers’ pockets. While he collected both his salary and a pension, a state audit charged Water Authority executives with walking off a half a million dollars in unearned pay and benefits. A local newspaper criticized Brooks for running “an unapologetic patronage mill. FBI Investigation: An FBI investigation found that county contractors did political work, some on county time. They even raised tens of thousands of dollars in campaign cash for Brooks. Fifteen workers were arrested and one pleaded guilty to defrauding taxpayers. Pay-To-Play Politics: Brooks specialized in pay-to-play politics. She took hundreds of thousands of dollars from her employees and businesses seeking contracts from Monroe County. How did she thank them? Raises and county contracts. Ethical Lapses: Brooks’ airport director resigned after spending more than $20,000 on strip clubs and cigars- paid for by taxpayers. His replacement resigned after a DUI in a county car, and Brooks’ appointee as crime lab director made so many mistakes that several cases, including a rape, were left unsolved unable to be prosecuted. SCANDALS’ TOTAL COST TO TAXPAYERS Local Development Corporations Budget Mismanagement Robutrad Double-Dipping Husband Airport Director Misuse of Funds HR Director Fraud Brooks’ Misuse of Airport Credit Card Total $383 million $38 million $1 million $1 million $21,000 $15,000 $1,300 423,148,021
Total Per Taxpayer: (employed person 16 years or older- 344,863 in Monroe County
Scandals. Taxes. We can’t afford Maggie Brooks.” The last page states “Inside: The Maggie Brooks Record of Scandal”
The claim that “Maggie Brooks’ scandals cost Monroe County taxpayers $423 million”. This statement is in violation of the following sections of the Fair Campaign Pledge: “I will conduct my campaign accurately and honestly” and “I will publically repudiate any individual or group whose activities on my campaign’s behalf (directly or indirectly) violate this Fair Campaign Pledge”. The claim that “Maggie Brooks Scandals Cost Taxpayers over $423 Million” is erroneous and violates the pledge as the calculation is overblown or outright false. At a minimum, the cost of $383 in scandal to taxpayers relating to Local Development Corporations and $38 million related to Budget Mismanagement is false and misleading. While Local Development Corporations have been scrutinized, there is no basis in fact that they will cost taxpayers $383 million related to scandal. The same applied to the unfounded $38 million in cost of scandal to taxpayers related to “Budget Mismanagement” claimed by the mailing. The mailing also states $15,000 in cost of scandal to taxpayers relating to “HR Director Fraud.” There are no known instances of fraud related to the County’s Human Resources Director. The mailing allocates the fictitious $423 million in “scandals cost to taxpayers” to the working population of Monroe County, claiming that this cost each taxpayer $1,226.98. Because the cost basis for this calculation is false, the cost per taxpayer is also false. While the mailing was paid for by the New York State Democratic Committee, it contains identical financial calculations as Mrs. Slaughter’s own television commercial that was ruled in violation of the Pledge by the Fair Election Practices Committee on 10/2/12. Therefore, this mailing violates the Pledge and Mrs. Slaughter also is in violation as she has not repudiated it. Of course, even if Mrs. Slaughter did repudiate this mailing after the fact, it would be unacceptable as she continues to run a television commercial deemed in violation with identical information.
Does this mailer violate the Fair Candidate Pledge “I will conduct my campaign accurately and honestly” Does this mailer violate the Fair Candidate Pledge “I will publically repudiate any individual or group whose activities on my campaign’s behalf (directly or indirectly) violate this Fair Campaign Pledge.” THE COMPLAINT IS SUSTAINED INASMUCH AS THE CLAIM THAT $ 423 MILLION WAS A “COST TO MONROE COUNTY TAXPAYERS” IS INACCURATE AND OVERSTATED. THE COMMITTEE FINDS A VIOLATION OF THE FAIR CAMPAIGN PLEDGE POINT NUMBER 1 WHICH STATES “I WILL CONDUCT MY CAMPAIGN ACCURATELY.” The Mailer was identified as being sent by the New York State Democratic Committee and therefore should be repudiated by the candidate in accordance with Pledge point Number 6.
DATE OF DECISION:
October 13, 2012
The Fair Election Practices Committee can be reached by phone at (585) 292-5750 ext. 11 or by mail in care of 120 Corporate Woods, Suite 240, Rochester, New York 14623.