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GOP: Alec Baldwin Committee Violates Campaign Finance Regs

East Hampton Conservators deny wrongdoing; Republicans file with the New York State Board of Elections.

Alec Baldwin, seen here at a Guild Hall event with his wife Hilaria, founded the East Hampton Conservators in 2007. Credit: Daniel Gonzalez/File Photo
Alec Baldwin, seen here at a Guild Hall event with his wife Hilaria, founded the East Hampton Conservators in 2007. Credit: Daniel Gonzalez/File Photo
The East Hampton Republican Committee claims that the East Hampton Conservators, a political action committee that actor Alec Baldwin founded six years, has improperly used funds to pay for political ads.

In a statement issued on Monday morning, Republican leaders allege that full page advertisements the committee took out in local weekly papers endorsing the entire Democratic slate violates campaign finance rules.

East Hampton Conservators' David Doty denied any wrongdoing calling it "a lot of hyperventilating from political operatives who do not support the mission of the East Hampton Conservators."

Stuart Jones, a Republican committeeman, filed a complaint with the State Board of Elections' Enforcement Division, dated Oct. 16, according to paperwork the GOP supplied. Tom Knobel, the vice chairman of the Republican Committee, said the complaint was mailed on Friday.

"It may be that this group called the East Hampton Conservators is simply a political committee cloaking itself as a PAC," Jones wrote in his complaint.

"No finance limits have been violated, and it is our constitutionally protected right to support candidates," David Doty, the treasurer, said. "We look closely at the candidates' records and their campaign platforms to see if they are consistent with the mission of East Hampton Conservators, and there is no secrecy about which candidates we support, nor why."

An Oct. 9 ad in The East Hampton Press shows the East Hampton conservators are supporting Larry Cantwell, for supervisor, and Kathee Burke-Gonzalez and Job Potter for East Hampton Town Board. "Join us in Supporting the Entire Democratic Slate," the ad stated.

The ad was read to Josie Jackson, a senior accountant at the State Board of Elections, on Monday. "I believe that is not acceptable," she said, adding that a PAC can write a check in support of a political candidate, but not pay for the ad directly.

The board of elections will review the complaint.

Meanwhile, Doty said donors to the committee are from all political parties. "This year, we are supporting for supervisor the same candidate who who won the recent Republican primary write-in as well as the Democratic nomination," Doty said referring to Larry Cantwell.

"This is much ado about nothing. What we should be talking about is preserving our beaches and preventing hardening structures on them which will just lead to more erosion, reducing the endless assault noise from the airport and its concomitant pollution, and investing the unspent monies in the CPF which taxpayers have paid under the promise that they will see preservation of our environment," he said.

According to the Conservators' website, the group is a political action committee, registered with Suffolk County and the State Board of Elections. Founded in 2007, the purpose was "to control development and population growth, protect the environment and pure drinking water, preserve open space and our quality of life," the website states. Baldwin conceived of the idea and helped found the Conservators.

"PAC's are neither political parties nor political committees. They do not select candidates to run for public office," their website explain. "PAC's are private organizations created to raise funds to support political parties, committees, and candidates, and promote legislation." The Conservators' website said it is the only environmental protection organization on the South Fork that can support and endorse the election of environmental candidates to office.

Republicans claim the same misuse of money in previous elections.

"This inappropriate use of funds from this mislabeled 'Conservator' group has been a continual pattern," according to the GOP.

As part of the complaint Jones filed, an ad supporting Democratic candidates Zachary Cohen, Sylvia Overby and Peter Van Scoyoc in the 2011 election was included, as was a financial disclosure report from 2012 that shows the group paid the newspaper directly for the ad.

"Since our founding, our receipts and expenditures have been disclosed, which not every committee or candidate has chosen to do in East Hampton," Doty said. "Indeed, it is from the open and transparent records we file with the State that the Republican Committee press release gets its information. "
Carole Campolo October 21, 2013 at 03:18 PM
Kudos to the Republican Party for filing this campaign finance complaint. I look forward to an expeditious investigation by the State BOE. It is interesting that the Conservators' spokesperson touts being a transparent organization because they file their BOE reports. Only problem with their so-called transparency, is as I write this comment, the East Hampton Conservators, BOE number C30263 have failed to file their 32 day Pre-General Election report. That report was mandated to be filed on October 4, making it 17 days late and counting. So much for transparency.
Black Lab October 21, 2013 at 05:01 PM
It is this year to replace the candidates that Republican insiders like Carole have always supported--candidates who believe in airport expansion while pretending they don't, candidates who believe in anything-goes rules for businesses but not for homeowners, candidates who will do anything to pretend that everything that's good for one business is good for all people. We need to get away from those people whom Carole supports in this election, and in elections past, so we can get back peace in our homes in Montauk, solve overcrowding in Springs, smartly address our beaches, and have a Town Board majority that treats citizens with less haughty nastiness and more respect. This is about an election with promise to improve the state of our environment and quality of life.
SadderBudweiser October 21, 2013 at 06:07 PM
It's amazing that the local Republican party would waste time on something like this when they can't even keep their promise to their own candidates to update their blog on this very same website! They promised to feature a different Republican candidate every day for 17 0r 18 days here. They got two done and there has been nothing posted there in almost a week. But heck, that can wait. Amazing. Embarrassing. Typical.
todd October 21, 2013 at 10:18 PM
I would spend less time scrutinizing document filings and more time feeding Wilkinson his meds before he makes it impossible for another Republican to get elected in town during your lifetime. His handling of the Montauk beach project is both embarrassing and dangerous to our town. Unfortunately Dominic has doomed his chances of reelection by supporting Wilkinson here. That's too bad.
Sandman October 22, 2013 at 06:48 AM
Wow...is this last minute desperate attempt to discredit good people really coming from the republicans?... AKA ' EH independent' party who takes huge sums of money from builders and airport supporters, keeping it undisclosed until forced...are these people really trying to put blame on others for the very thing they are guilty of? Unwarranted and delusional people like this should not be in our governement...Lets keep their double standards away from out our town board! Lets not vote for even one of them now!
pat October 22, 2013 at 08:10 AM
If this is true, it still doesn't take away from the huge appeal of a Democratic alternative to the past many years of some members of this board. If the Republicans truly want to win anything, they really should have reined in their unruly board members over the past many years, which felt like forever. Hey Montauk, remember the only attention we got from the GOP in the past was when we were worth tax $$ to them, and not when we needed their support for a habitable (after 10 p.m.) town in the summer.
Neil October 22, 2013 at 09:33 AM
Wow!? Carole Campolo sure has done a lot of background research considering that she posts her comment 29 minutes after Taylor V published her post! She must be part of the rabid Rep. group that is bringing up the trumped accusations. They hate Alec so much that they have lost sight of what is important.
podjoe October 22, 2013 at 11:11 AM
One might be tempted to ask Alec "Who's in your wallet? "
Black Lab October 22, 2013 at 01:00 PM
The myopic Republican committee members focus on bickering and minutiae and that is why they couldn't field a candidate for Supervisor. They should deal with big issues facing the town, propose alternative ideas for our future, and stop wasting taxpayer money on nonsense.
LocalBub October 22, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Dems are always so busy lying to themselves in their usual lust for being the biggest, most self- righteous, condescending, wealthy, guilt ridden proponents ( but not practitioners) of environmental conservation and fair share economics. They wouldn't know a local working person unless they needed one to do some work for them at their mansion. I am sick of these horses bottoms telling us how we should run things around here. We are a tourist economy - get over yourselves. Montauk is a fun day tripper vacation location. Stay in quiet, peaceful Manhattan if you don't want noise. Tell your rich buddies to drive here and not take a helicopter. I certainly am not the one using the airport to fly in! Stop blaming the local elected officials, only the Republicans of course, for all the problems you seem to feel are so egregious here. Democrats are AWESOME ( tongue firmly in cheek), they never do anything wrong (mcGintee)! If it is so horrible here, try Martha's Vineyard. Bye bye.
jsb October 22, 2013 at 06:42 PM
Lets talk facts: When Wilk took over Jan 1, 2010 - Nearly $30 million deficit - Debt almost $150K - Key Dem appointee indicted and pleads guilty - CPF illegally raided and funds misappropriated - Code enforcement totally dysfunctional (documentation to prove it) and not working - Downtown Montauk vulnerable to obliteration by storm with no help in sight - Credit rating drop of 4 levels - Town government in total disarray and on verge of bankruptcy or 50% tax rate Since Jan 1, 2010 - $12 million SURPLUS in general fund - Debt moving BELOW $120 million - Town receives $500K award from Dem State gov for efficiency and innovation management - Credit rating increase back up to AA status - Town in line for $40 million to save downtown Montauk from obliteration by storm - Code enforcement filed and prosecuted more cases than any four year period (documentable) - CPF made whole, restored, and given clean audit Wilk came in with tough love and saved the Town - PERIOD. Cantwell knows he can't increase staff without popping the tax levy cap. Wilk's approach MUST be contined as stated by the State Sec of State. Wilk was able to do more with less - like his enforcement people with a brilliant public safety director. Over the last 4 years we didn't need a glad handing politico, we needed a strong handed leader. Sorry for any egos or feeling hurt along the way.
Cannot Believe This October 22, 2013 at 08:00 PM
ALEC That is a beautiful dress you daughter is wearing. Where did she buy it? Locally in East Hampton?
Cannot Believe This October 22, 2013 at 08:57 PM
I'm sorry, I just read the picture caption carefully, I mean where did your wife purchase the beautiful dress? Sorry for the mistake. I just saw the picture and I knew Alec had a 20 something daughter, made an assumption and didn't bother to read the caption. You know what they say about assuming.
Carole Campolo October 22, 2013 at 10:38 PM
Whew! This thread has really gone a field. To those wondering about reviewing campaign filings, just know many good government groups as well as individuals, lobbied hard for public disclosure of campaign finances. Knowing who is contributing to candidates running for office and what those campaigns are spending those contribution dollars on gives voters who care, a real window in how the candidate is likely to govern once elected. Additionally, it is important to know the special interests and groups that are contributing to candidates, or making expenditures on their behalf, again so that a voter can be armed with the most information possible before casting a vote. For years, people have decried how money influences elections and now all voters have an opportunity to use these campaign filings as a true resource. Whether or not you place importance on these things, the State of New York has campaign finance laws that committees and PACs must follow. When a committee does not submit on time, or submits clearly deficient filings, then they should be called on that, REGARDLESS PARTY AFFILIATION AND POLITICS.
Carole Campolo October 22, 2013 at 10:50 PM
Now campaign finance reform has been an issue generally supported by liberal Democrats. So, some of these comments on the thread are really interesting. And it is especially interesting that Alec Baldwin's Conservators would flout campaign finance laws, since I know personally and professionally that Mr. Baldwin has been very concerned with campaign finance reform. So, his double standard and hypocrisy, certainly not filing his most recent mandated filing is disappointing. Since the Republican complaint still needs to be investigated I can't comment on whether or not the Conservators have broken the law. Hopefully the BOE will expedite the complaint and make a ruling before the election. And I unfortunately had nothing to do with filing the complaint. I say unfortunately, because I think what the Party did was fantastic and I am only sorry I didn't think of it. Campaign finance reform is all about creating a level playing field. And keeping people and committees honest, helps in creating that level playing field. You go Pubbies!!
marilynfitterman October 23, 2013 at 08:17 AM
I wouldn't worry about the Federal Election Committee FEC, from my experience they don't know their own laws so seldom enforce anything. The Republicans use the FEC to try to scare the Dems. It usually doesn't work.
MARTIN DREW October 23, 2013 at 08:30 AM
FYI - ELECT - Martin Drew (B) Supervisor / Write in Candidate; I can GUARANTEE this: I'm not in Mr. Baldwin's wallet ! And will do what's best for the ENTIRE community - Not just celeb - elitist - agendas of exclusion and dominance and control ... people need together involved - YOU have a CHOICE NOW- VOTE - your right - your responsibility .. Vote and the CHOICE is yours- don't VOTE and the CHOICE is theirs .. Can you live with that .. BLANKS & REPUBLICANS UNITE with INDEPENDENTS to give our town citizens a chance at ACCEPTANCE/ TOLERANCE RESPECT ; allowing ASSIMILATION to be more that election cycle buzz words - Time for REAL CHANGE is NOW - (B)reak up PARTY domination of our lives .. End Party dominance and agendas - Vote - Write In - Martin Drew (B) Supervisor - Local history to get our town back to the place we remember BEFORE - HAMPTON$ popularity was allowed to run wild while our quality of life is compromised by Party agendas that find you NOT politically accepted . Let me (B) your CHOICE - I will deliver Real Change ! Trust in that - (D) record of exclusion - lip service - in action : mischief$ ; all valid reasons to END THE NEXT PARTY control of our lives . (B)onackers are you listening - Do you care .. Alec throwing around his wallet - is there anything in there for YOU ? Trying to buy his way in .. To control more ... (B) invoked this election cycle - Can we live with (D) majority .. Better watch your wallet - (D)on't (B) fooled by the fox in sheepskin / headed to your henhou$e- (B)uyer (B)eware - use your vote wisely - at least NOW - YOU have a choice --- what's in your wallet?
MARTIN DREW October 23, 2013 at 01:30 PM
YOUR POWER OF A VOTE -!

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