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Assembly candidate claims campaign mailer breaks state election law

Democratic New York State Assembly candidate Marianne Buttenschon claims an election mailer targeting her campaign breaks state election law.

Posted: Jun. 12, 2018 11:10 AM
Updated: Jun. 12, 2018 10:06 PM

MARCY, N.Y.-- Democratic New York State Assembly candidate Marianne Buttenschon claims a mailer targeting her campaign breaks state election law.

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The 119th District candidate said the she has contacted the Chief Enforcement Counsel of the New York State Board of Elections over an anonymous flyer aligning her with the Republican Party.

"I'd like to see where it came from and that's the issue at hand," Buttenschon said. "The New York State election law has a criteria that an individual must acknowledge where it's from."

The Chief Enforcement Council, Risa Sugarman, declined to comment on the investigation to NEWSChannel 2.

The flyer claims Buttenschon is "anti-choice" and does not support Planned Parenthood. The flyer also claims Buttenschon has contributed money and campaigned with Republican candidates and that she does not support the platform of the state Democratic party.

"I've been a lifelong Democrat since I was 18 years old," Buttenschon said. "As far as supporting various Republicans, it's something that I've done and I'm sure that you would talk to any other Democrat in the REN it's something that they do. I've never walked up to someone and asked them what their political affiliation is. I've been sure that I work with them to benefit the community."

Though her Democratic opponent Christopher Salatino did not outwardly claim responsibilty for the flyer, he did respond with the following statement.

"My campaign is following all New York State Election Laws. Someone running for state office should know the laws before they attack others. Candidates hoping to make laws should also be able to read and understand them. If Mrs. Buttenschon doesn’t like her policy positions coming to light, she should re-think them or be honest with the Democratic Party’s voters. Perhaps Mrs. Buttenschon would feel more comfortable just running on the Conservative Party line where her values clearly are.”

Under the title "Attributions," New York State election law says the following:

"NYS Election Law does not require a sponsor or payor’s name to appear on any political advertisements (“paid for by”), with the exception of Independent Expenditures of $1,000 or more. If the ad refers to a federal candidate, the Federal Election Commission (FEC) may impose such a requirement. Additionally, Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations, as well as radio/TV
stations, and print media themselves, may impose an attribution requirement. Independent Expenditures that cost more than
$1,000 in the aggregate must: Clearly state the name of the person/committee who paid for or otherwise published or distributed
the communication, e.g. “Paid for by the ABC Independent Expenditure Committee” and With respect to communications regarding candidates, state that the communication was not expressly authorized or requested by any candidate or by any candidate’s political committee or any of its agents, e.g. “This communication was not expressly authorized or requested by any candidate or by any candidate’s political committees or any of its agents.”

Buttenschon claims Salatino unfairly skirted this rule via 'coordination,' defined in state election law, in part, as the following:

"The independent expenditure committee making the payment or expenditure benefiting the candidate, republishes, disseminates, or distributes, in whole or in part, any video, audio, written, or other campaign- related material prepared by the candidate or the candidate's authorized committee or by an agent of the candidate or the candidate's authorized committee. This paragraph shall not apply if the independent expenditure committee making the payment or expenditure obtains the communication or materials
from a publicly available source."

Salatino and Buttenschon will faceoff in a primary in September. The winner of that race will face Republican candidate Dennis Bova Jr. in the November general election. Bova responded to the situation in the following statement Monday:

“Although I haven’t seen the mailer in question, it’s troubling to see the Democrats already fighting each other while we should be fighting Albany. This only reaffirms why I got into this race in the first place. We need a new kind of leadership in Albany, and it won’t happen by sending the same old names there.”

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