Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Dems accuse GOP Legislature hopeful of skirting election laws

NORTH GREENBUSH -- A Thursday fundraiser for the Rensselaer County Legislature campaign of North Greenbush Councilman Lou Desso has drawn the ire of town Democrats, who claim the candidate has run afoul of state election laws.
"Friends of Lou Desso," which is putting on the $40-a-head event at Paolo Lombardi's in Wynantskill, has not been registered with either the state or Rensselaer County Boards of Elections.
Campaign law states a PAC must be registered, with a treasurer named, before it can "recieve any receipt, transfer or contribution, or make any expenditure or incur any liability."
Only donations of $100 or higher will actually have to be reported to the BOE in regular filings (the next of which is in July), however, meaning that purchasers of tickets for the event will not be reported.
North Greenbush Democratic committeeman C.B. Smith, who accused Desso and other Town Board candidates of doing the same thing last year, said the Conservative Party member running on the GOP line should have learned last time.
"We all have to play by certain rules, and one of them is: Where's the money?" said Smith, noting that without registering, future contributions exceeding $100 will not be available to the public.
"Unless he files those reports, we'll never know," he said.
Desso, a target of the firebrand Smith and town Democratic Chair Dan Ashley for not the first time, said he's new to the election game and has been too busy selling over 250 tickets to the event in recent months to research what needs to be filed.
"A lot of my time and energy has been devoted the last month or so into making this a success," he said. "And then I'll take a look at what paperwork has to be done, and whatever has to be done will be done."
The four seats for which Desso could run are all currently held by Democrats. One of them, minority leader and proven vote-getter Ginny O'Brien, has announced she will not seek re-election.
All 19 Legislature seats will be on the ballot in November.


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