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Following the money in NY-23

By Jerry Zremski

WASHINGTON -- "Follow the money" is a longtime axiom in political journalism -- and believe it or not, doing so in a race for a Tompkins County Legislature seat might well offer some insights into what a hot contest we can expect next year betweeen Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, and Democrat Martha Robertson.

The money trail ends with the Tompkins County Republican Committee spending $23,431, with much of it apparently going to boost Republican Amy Scott Foster's failed attempt to unseat Robertson from her seat in the County Legislature.

That's an unusual amount of money for a county committee to spend on one legislative race, but what's even more unusual is the apparent money trail leading to that expenditure.

The trail starts, it seems, with the New York Republican Federal Campaign Committee receiving $23,000 in contributions from "other committees" this year. Some $18,000 of it came from Tom Reed for Congress, while the other $5,000 came from the AECOM US Federal PAC, a political committee affiliated with AECOM, a company that provides professional technical and management support services

Curiously, the Tompkins County Republican Committee then reported receiving the exact same amount -- $23,000 -- from the New York State Republican Committee.
 
And in turn, the Tompkins County Republican Committee reported spending $23,431 on election expenses, which Democrats believe resulted in a blizzard of fliers and radio ads attacking Robertson.
 
Reviewing it all, Robertson campaign spokesman George Koutsos cited Reed's habit of being late in paying his property taxes.
 
"Rep. Reed and his allies are clearly concerned that voters are quickly growing tired of being represented by someone who lives by his own set of rules and are doing everything possible to divert attention from his failed record,” Koutsos said.
 
Yet when asked it Reed's campaign was behind the attacks on Robertson in the County Legislature race, his campaign spokesman, Katherine Pudwill, indicated there was nothing unusual about Reed's donations to the state party.
 
"We gave for party building as we have in the past," she said.
 
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About Politics Now

Robert J. McCarthy

Robert J. McCarthy

A native of Schenectady, Robert J. McCarthy came to The Buffalo News in 1982 following a six-year stint at the Olean Times Herald. He is a graduate of St. Bonaventure University, and has been covering local, state and national politics since 1992.

[email protected]


Tom Precious

Tom Precious

Tom Precious joined The Buffalo News in 1997 as bureau chief at the state Capitol, where he covers everything from statewide politics and state government fiscal affairs to health care, environmental and municipal government matters. Prior to The News, he worked for news outlets in Albany and Washington, DC.

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Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri

Jill Terreri is an Amherst native and has covered politics and government in upstate New York since 2003. She joined The Buffalo News in 2012 and covers City Hall.

@jillterreri | [email protected]


Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski

Jerry Zremski, The Buffalo News Washington bureau chief, has reported from the nation's capital since 1989 after joining The News as a business reporter in 1984. A graduate of Syracuse University, Zremski is a former Nieman fellow in journalism at Harvard University. In 2007, he served as president of the National Press Club.

@JerryZremski | [email protected]

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