By LOUIS FLORES
A spokesman for the New York State Democratic Party has denied allegations that candidates for the State Senate were forced to use a preferred campaign vendor, according to a report by Zach Fink from NY1 and published on the Time Warner Cable News Web site, State of Politics.
In news reports, the preferred campaign vendor has been identified to be The Parkside Group.
A recent report by Ross Barkan, published in The New York Observer, noted how the New York Democratic Senate Campaign Committee, or DSCC, headed by State Senator Michael Gianaris (D-Queens), required that "DSCC-backed candidates must use Parkside to print their campaign mail, an arrangement some Democrats have long bristled at."
The report in The New York Observer was followed by a report in Progress Queens showing how almost a decade ago, the Brooklyn District Attorney's Office filed charges against the former chair of the Brooklyn Democratic Party for coercing judicial candidates to use a preferred campaign vendor. Queens District Attorney Richard Brown was unable to comment on the Progress Queens report.
District Attorneys in New York City run for public office with the consent of the respective county committee of the Democratic Party, the dominant political party. Government reform activists have long claimed that district attorneys avoid investigating political corruption, because, in order to first run for office and to keep running for reëlection, the district attorneys must campaign with the approval of the chair of their respective Democratic Party county organization. In other parts of New York state, the chair of the dominant political party will have a say in determining which candidate for the respective, local district attorney's office will receive institutional campaign support. In Queens, conflicts of interest for the District Attorney's Office may also arise through the various campaign consultants and lobbyists employed by other politicians, who share relationships with the chair of the Queens County Democratic Party, some government reform activists say. The chair of the Queens Democratic Party is U.S. Representative Joseph Crowley (D-Queens). In the past, Rep. Crowley has also employed the services of Parkside.
Mr. Fink's report, published Friday, provided information about pressure that the DSCC has reportedly exerted on candidates to use Parkside.
"Sources say that in many instances Parkside representatives made clear to the candidates that if they do not use their services, they will not be receiving DSCC money. Sometimes that was made clear in the form of a threat, other times it was demonstrated through pulled support," Mr. Fink's report showed.
In the face of this and other information, Democrats were steadfast in defending their arrangement with Parkside.
"Almost all mail was paid for directly by DSCC, not by the candidates’ campaigns and out of all the vendors used The Parkside Group was the most reasonably priced," read a statement, in part, provided to State of Politics by Mike Murphy, a spokesman for the state Democratic Party.
Mr. Fink's complete report, including more of Mr. Murphy's statement, can be read on the State of Politics Web site. See Post-Election Grumbling.