With little more than three months to go before Election Day, the Democrats and Republicans in East Hampton Town are pointing fingers at each other over recent campaign finance filings.
The town’s Democratic Campaign Committee, known as Campaign 2013, on Monday filed a formal complaint with the New York State Board of Elections, alleging that Town Republican Councilman Dominick Stanzione’s reelection campaign committee, Friends of Dominick Stanzione, made a false filing by neglecting to list any receipts or expenditures for the same period.
Meanwhile, Carole Campolo, the secretary for the East Hampton Town Republican Committee, announced on Tuesday that she had filed a complaint with the State Board of Elections on July 18, alleging that the Democratic committee had failed to list expenditures for the first half of the year.
Mr. Stanzione, in a statement released on Monday night, acknowledged making an “honest mistake” on his campaign report filed last week.
The Democrats’ complaint claims that Friends of Dominick Stanzione filed a false campaign report for the reporting period that ended on July 11. Specifically, it claimed “no activity”—neither receipts nor expenditures—for the six months since the last filing in January.
“Stanzione is the treasurer of his own committee with responsibility for filing the report and for its contents,” read a statement the Democrats issued on Monday.
Intentionally filing a false campaign finance report can be prosecuted as a felony, it notes.
The Democrats stated that on March 28, April 11, and June 6, advertisements supporting Mr. Stanzione’s reelection bid appeared in local news outlets, in print and online. The ads were attributed to “Friends of Dominick Stanzione,” but did not say, “paid for by,” as required by law, the Democrats alleged.
“Both the expenditures for the ad and the source of funds to pay for it are required to be disclosed in the periodic campaign finance report,” statement reads. “Even if the ads were donated, they would have to be reported as contributions in-kind and the donor’s name disclosed.”
Mr. Stanzione acknowledged that his committee filed a finance report claiming “no activity” for the past six months, that he was the committee treasurer, and that the report should have listed expenses associated with recent ads. He added that a professional treasurer hired by his campaign brought the problem to his attention about a week ago and that it is making “appropriate adjustments” immediately.
“My bad,” Mr. Stanzione said in his statement. “I’m not a campaign finance professional. That’s why I now have a professional handling the committee’s filings and finances.”
He is no longer committee treasurer, he said.
“I really appreciate that campaign finance and technical reporting is all best left to campaign professionals,” he wrote. “Done well, it is time consuming. Done incorrectly, it can be an unnecessary distraction from serving the people of our community—and that’s what I honestly believe I do best—serve.”
Ms. Campolo said the Democrats were guilty of much the same thing. Her complaint charges that the committee did not list expenditures for the January 13 to July 12 filing period, despite having taken out many newspaper and radio ads over the past several months.
Christopher Kelley, the chairman for the Democrats’ campaign, on Tuesday afternoon said he was unaware of Ms. Campolo’s complaint, but, upon hearing it, he disputed it.
“Carole Campolo doesn’t know what she’s talking about,” he said, saying that the Democrats did not write any checks before July 11.