Wednesday, August 2, 2017

NY Elections Commissioners Feud Will Provide Trump Voter Data

Commissioners of the New York State Board of Elections and its Independent Chief Enforcement Counsel, Risa Sugarman, engaged in an icy Exchange over the Office’s Role at the Board’s Monthly Meeting on Wednesday.
At issue was Sugarman’s reluctance to go after hundreds of Campaign Committees that are not technically in Compliance with Election Law, but are Defunct and haven’t been Active for Years. “You’ve decided parking tickets are a waste of your time,” said Douglas Kellner, the Democratic Co-Chair of the Board. “The only cases that you pursue wind up in the newspaper.”

Sugarman appears to be using her Office’s Resources pursuing some Higher-Profile Litigation and Cases. The Office was created by 2014 Legislation after the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption had deemed the Board’s prior Investigations of Election Law Violations toothless. Some Cases Sugarman has pursued have become Public, although not because she Leaked the Details. For instance, a Republican Spokesman for the Board Leaked an Investigation into a Fundraising operation led by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2014. And Details of a current Probe into State Senate Republicans’ Campaign spending became Public after the GOP filed a Motion to quash Sugarman’s subpoenas. “I’m not putting out press releases,” Sugarman noted.

At the beginning of her turn to speak at the Meeting, Sugarman asked to take questions before giving her Monthly Report, in expectation that Commissioners would ask about the Non-Filers. That in itself caused Verbal sparring with Kellner. Sugarman said she hoped to not be asked about the Issue going forward. “I’ve told you that over and over again, to bring this up every time over the past 2 and a half years, is not something I find helpful,” Sugarman said.

Peter Kosinski, the Republican Co-Chair of the Board, also critiqued Sugarman for not including many Metrics in her portion of the Board’s Annual Report, such as the number of Complaints her Unit received and the number of investigations opened. Kosinski also announced that the Board would comply with a Request from the Trump Administration’s Voter Commission to turn over its Public New York Voter Database.

John Conklin, a spokesman for the Board of Elections, said that the Board had received a Freedom of Information Law (FOIL) Request for the Information from the Trump Commission last Friday. Because it was specified that the Data would be used for an “elections purpose,” there was no other possible Exemption under FOIL that could be used by the Board to deny the Commission the Public Information. The Data, which is being sent to the Trump Commission Wednesday afternoon, will not include either Social Security Numbers or Drivers License Numbers, Conklin said.

Gov. Andrew Cuomo had said he did not want New York to supply the Data, but the decision was ultimately that of the Board of Elections, whose Commissioners, consisting of two Democrats and two Republicans.

Alphonso David, Cuomo’s Counsel, emphasized in an interview that far less Information about New Yorkers was being sent to Trump’s Commission than was originally sought.

David said the Information the Board of Elections provided on Wednesday was routinely given to the Public and did not include that Private, Sensitize Information. It is just the Public Information that anyone can get, and has gotten, David said. David also noted that the Information provided Wednesday was only allowed to be Used for Election-Related purposes, and any Misuse could bring a Criminal Penalty.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
Digg! StumbleUpon

No comments: