Robin Wilt Comments on Mailers and Campaign Finance

Thank you for coming. We are here to talk about how Joe Robach has been abusing the privileges of his office to campaign on the public dime, wasting taxpayer money.

Senator Robach's greeting to the Italian Civic LeagueMany of Sen. Robach's constituents, including myself, have received mailers from the Senator in the last few weeks. Yet according to his campaign finance disclosures, Senator Robach has not paid for any mailings. To say in a taxpayer-funded mailer, that is tantamount to a campaign solicitation, that New York State must "tighten [its] belt," is the height of hypocrisy.

The mailers highlight another area where incumbents tend to conflate the privileges of their public office with their reelection campaigns. Although there is very little in way of policy initiatives listed in the mailers, the Web site referenced by the mailers, and by certain print political ads paid for by Senator Robach, is that of his taxpayer-funded Senate Web site, not his campaign Web site. Senator Robach's most recent campaign finance disclosure shows an August 27 payment to the Italian Civic League for the attached advertisement. The advertisement references www.senatorjoerobach.com, which redirects to his Senate Web site: http://www.nysenate.gov/senator/joseph-e-robach.

Like the mailers, Senator Robach's constituent services Web site is taxpayer-funded.

Campaign finance law dictates that candidates enforce a strict division between their public service and their reelection campaign. But Senator Robach has decided to enforce that division only recently. His campaign Web site, http://www.joerobach.com, went live in the last few weeks, months after I announced my candidacy in mid-June. Before that, he was using his publicly funded Web site as the de facto Web site for his reelection campaign.

Joe Robach, on a mailer paid for by your tax dollars, said: "When times are tough, most hardworking families pull together, tighten their belts and make sensible changes to their spending habits." If he meant those words, he would not have spent state money on that very mailer. As a symbolic gesture of my own reaction to receiving these mailers, I am here to return them to Senator Robach and call on him to walk the talk: Refund the money spent on campaign mailers to the State of New York.

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