Dan Janison has been a reporter at Newsday since 1997.
Shortly before the Independence Day weekend, recipients of "Friends of Ed Mangano" emails received a message urging modest donations in time for this week's disclosure deadline -- as well as for volunteers to come forward. "With all the excitement behind Ed Mangano's campaign, there's plenty of work to do!" it stated.
"Best, Rob Walker," it was signed.
Walker is Republican Mangano's $157,882-a-year chief deputy executive. Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin, who like Walker is doing both campaign and county duty this season, denied any campaign activities are done on government time. He explains the send time of that missive at 3:58 p.m. on a Monday as typical of a prearranged computer function, and volunteers often work on correspondence.
Does Walker's dual role appear proper? Might it create confusion in the mind of the recipient about what's government and what's election politics? Nevin says no -- that it's well known Walker has been politically involved with Mangano for many years. Unusual? He noted Rahm Emanuel had been chief of staff and also fundraiser for President Barack Obama (though, it appears, not at the same time).
Some call it actually a triple role for Walker. Among several other Mangano fundraising solicitations from Walker over the past year and a half was one from August offering "Bruce Springsteen in Concert -- Luxury Suite" tickets at $1,100 per person at MetLife Stadium the following month.
As Newsday reported, expenses related to a MetLife skybox -- purchased by the Hicksville Republican Committee Walker heads -- were subpoenaed by Democratic state Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman. Nassau Democrats have long claimed the Hicksville fund was a backdoor funnel for Mangano's campaign; the Mangano camp calls it all partisan noise.
BHARARA, BUSTS AND 'BUPKES': With his indictments of state lawmakers stirring corruption concerns anew, U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said last week of the recent Albany session: "I think it's astonishing -- speaking as a citizen -- that notwithstanding all the cases we brought this year, and that other prosecutors have brought, that not one thing changed with respect to the legislature."
"If you look at what they did, it's -- what's the formal phrase? -- bupkes." (Yiddish for sheep droppings or beans). All branches of government, and news media, Bharara said, must "bring some reform to the process."