Once again, the Erie County Democratic Committee’s press office, euphemistically named The Public, has gotten its facts wrong in their latest missive on campaign finance. It seems that the article’s author, Goeff Kelly, merely reprinted his instructions from Democratic Party boss Jeremy Zellner, without bothering to check any facts.
Here is the straight story, with evidence to back it up. Ellen and Peter Reese are two natural persons who support good candidates for public office. The Reeses are also devoted advocates of the international No Kill movement, a group which works to end unnecessary shelter killing of animals. They have most recently concentrated on advocacy of Trap Neuter Return (TNR) as a method for dealing with free roaming, unowned “community cats.” TNR involves humanely trapping, vaccinating, neutering and left ear tipping community cats, before they are returned to the location where they were trapped. TNR is one of the most effective ways to reduce unnecessary shelter destruction of cats and a primary component of any No Kill program. Since 2014, TNR has been endorsed as a “best practice” by the Humane Society of the United States and the International City/County Management Association.
Community cats inhabit nearly every area of the earth also populated by humans. These cats are capable of surviving quite nicely in a symbiotic relationship in which humans provide some food and shelter and the cats provide 7 X 24 rodent control. The Reeses have embarked on a program to make Western New York TNR friendly and they formed the Buffalo-Niagara No Kill PAC to advance their goals. So far, this PAC has been funded solely by contributions from the Reeses, but donations from other sources are welcome. To date, the City of Buffalo, Village of Williamsville, Town of Amherst, City of Tonawanda, City of North Tonawanda, County of Erie, Town of Cheektowaga, Town of West Seneca, and Village of Lancaster have adopted TNR friendly ordinances or policy resolutions. Last year, the New York State Legislature overwhelmingly passed a bill endorsing TNR and providing funding for statewide activity, only to have the bill vetoed by Governor Cuomo at the last minute.
Kristy Mazurek is a local media personality who is currently running as a Democrat for the 143rd District seat in the New York State Assembly. The Reeses have known Kristy for several years and have appeared numerous times on her “Two Sides” television show. “No media person in Western New York has done more to advance the cause of animal welfare than Kristy Mazurek,” stated No Kill PAC spokesperson Ellen Reese.
In support of Kristy’s campaign for the Assembly, the Reeses have made four contributions as follows:
8/4/16 $200 Buffalo-Niagara No Kill PAC
8/15/16 $2000 Peter A. Reese and Ellen Reese, two signatures, joint account, $1000 to each signer
9/7/16 $4000 Peter A. Reese and Ellen Reese, two signatures, joint account, $2000 to each signer
9/8/16 $2000 Buffalo-Niagara No Kill PAC
Under NYS Election Law, each individual is allowed to contribute $4400 to any candidate for the Assembly during the Primary Election. Contributions of $1000 or more made after the cutoff date for the last pre-Primary filing (August 30, 2016 through September 13, 2016) must be reported in a separate system for “24 Hour Notice Filings” with the New York State Board of Elections. This system is designed to alert voters to large contributions made before the September 13, 2016 Primary Election, but after the cutoff date for the last formal report. It is not possible to have a 24 Hour Notice which falls outside of the 8/30/16 to 9/13/16 date range, so any notice which is dated outside that range is clearly and obviously an error to all but someone who has no knowledge of Election Law campaign finance reporting (like Geoff Kelly). The treasurer of the Mazurek campaign inadvertently made an erroneous filing for “20-SEP-16” indicating a $2000 contribution from me. This impossibility was obviously a mistake. Unfortunately filers cannot amend 24 Hour Notices, but the State Board has been notified of the error, and they merely indicated that an additional $2000 should be reported on the correct date, 9/7/16. Treasurer David Pfaff notified the NYS Board of Elections on 9/8/16:
Geoff Kelly has my cell phone number but didn’t bother to call. Instead he concluded “…Reese committed $2,000 more to Mazurek’s campaign, but that contribution is post-dated to September 20, one week after the primary. Weird, right?” Based on his ignorant conclusion, Kelly then went through some further wild and irresponsible speculation stating “Reese’s extra donation of $2,000 had to be post-dated to after the primary, so that it would count as a donation to a general election campaign. Presumably, if she loses, she doesn’t cash that check: If she’s not on the ballot for the general and she cashes the check, Reese will have exceeded the individual giving limit.” This clearly imputes illegal, possibly criminal, activity to yours truly, and I am not pleased. While Kelly has a legal right to free speech, even if one considers a trash can liner like The Public to be the “free press,” he does not have the right to defame me while demonstrating a reckless disregard for the truth. Today I called Kelly and he finally called back. I expressed my concerns and indicated that his post was defamatory. He said any defamation was “unintentional.” I indicated that I was demanding an immediate correction. He said he would correct his mistake “as soon as I can get to a computer.” Then he persisted in proclaiming his innocence and I informed him the conversation was over. As I type he has posted nothing other than ass covering remarks, refusing to correct his errors. I will respond accordingly.