From New York Green Party gubernatorial candidate Howie Hawkins:
Howie Hawkins, the Green Party candidate for Governor, called today upon his Democratic opponent, Andrew Cuomo, to reject the Independence Party line following several new scandals involving payments by billionaire NYC Mayor Bloomberg and a loan to the wife of the state party chairperson by a NYC candidate.
“The Independence Party has just become another fake third party made possible by New York’s unusual fusion provisions. The Independence Party, fathered by billionaire Tom Golisano in his efforts to buy his way to the State Capitol, routinely sells their line in exchange for campaign contributions, patronage and favors for the party insiders. Mr. Cuomo claims he wants to clean up Albany and so far, bowing to the constant media attacks led by the NYC tabloids, has delayed his acceptance of the Working Families Party line while their financial operations are under investigation. Yet the Independence Party, which has a more prominent ballot position than the WFP, somehow passes Mr. Cuomo’s litmus test despite repeated examples of their influence peddling,”‘ noted Hawkins.
Hawkins said that candidates for public office in New York should run on only one line, rather than cluttering up the ballot with fake third parties and independent lines whose main function is patronage and vote-buying.
“I ask Mr. Cuomo to face off against me one on one, the Green Party line versus the Democratic line. These fake parties and bought independent lines clutter up the ballot in New York, making it very difficult for voters to find real third party candidates like the Greens, hidden away in obscure corners of the voting machine where you often have to kneel down to even see our names. At a minimum, New York should adopt the ballot rotation rules used in other states like California, where the placement of the names are rotated throughout the state so ballot placement doesn’t determine the winner,” said Hawkins.
Staten Island District Attorney Dan Donovan’s announced recently that his office was investigation reports of a $10,000 business loan by a failed NYC Council candidate from Staten Island to the wife of Frank McKay, the State Chairperson of the Independence Party. John Haggerty, a close Bloomberg campaign aide, was recently indicted for stealing $1.1 million of the mayor’s money; the funds were apparently partially being laundered by the Party to pay for Haggerty services to Bloomberg and partially intended to be used for “walking around” money on election day by the Party.
The Oneida County District Attorney is presently investigating the local Independence Party chapter. One part of the investigation is a check for $4,698.50 written by Republican congressional candidate Richard Hanna to the Chairman’s Club of the Independence Party of Oneida County which was supposedly to be used for advertizing costs but wasn’t.
In 2008, former Democratic congressional candidate Jack Davis apologized for $10,000 in payments he made to the wives of Western New York’s most influential Independence Party leaders that critics called “bribes.” Davis said his payments to the wives of Independence Chairmen Anthony L. Orsini Jr. of Erie County and Rafael Colon of Monroe County for “consulting” services were a “mistake.”
McKay announced a couple of years ago, following Golisano apparently circumventing state election finance laws in 2008 to dump $4.4 million in state legislative elections, that he was putting Steve Pigeon, Golisano’s point person from Buffalo, in charge of upstate endorsements for the Independence Party. Pigeon, the former Chair of the Erie County Democratic Party, recently became a $150,000 State Senate employee, his reward for working with Golisano last year to briefly deliver Sen. Pedro Espada to the Republicans. Espada and Pigeon are being investigated by the federal government for a money laundering scheme involving payments that a Town of Niagara company made to a Bronx entity that might have ties to Espada.
Long time Independence Party Executive Committee member Frank Morano, in recently resigning his party posts, stated, “Our party stands for nothing. The constant scandal and the perpetual infighting have made us a statewide laughingstock and we haven’t achieved a single substantive objective for which it was founded.”