By Robert J. McCarthy
A controversial political committee now under investigation by the Erie County Board of Elections -- dormant since the September primary -- has resurrected with an $8,000 contribution to the campaign of Democratic sheriff candidate Richard E. Dobson.
According to campaign finance records filed with the state Board of Elections, the WNY Progressive Caucus gave the money to the Dobson campaign on Thursday. Dobson, who was previously absent from the airwaves, is now airing his first TV ad with just days to go before Tuesday's election.
G. Steven Pigeon, the former Erie County Democratic chairman who gave the caucus almost $100,000 during Dobson's primary campaign against endorsed candidate Bert D. Dunn, also gave the caucus $12,000 on Thursday, according to state records.
Democratic Legislators Betty Jean Grant and Timothy R. Hogues of Buffalo have filed official complaints with the county board over the activities of the caucus. Former Assistant District Attorney Mark A. Sacha has also filed a complaint.
The board acted on those complaints Wednesday by voting to launch its own investigation of the group, which spent $267,000 in August and September to support candidates running against those endorsed by party leaders.
The Thursday donation marks the first time the caucus has directly contributed to the Dobson campaign after independently buying $112,000 worth of television time for the Democratic candidate during the primary campaign.