Rick Brand is a longtime Newsday reporter who writes about politics and government on Long Island.
The Suffolk PBA’s powerhouse fundraising arm, the Long Island Law Enforcement Foundation, dumped $564,000 into local races this past election season.
The foundation spent $38,667 on key ally Democratic County Executive Steve Bellone’s re-election, but the group spent even more on hotly contested town and county battles, including $58,202 for freshman Legis. Kevin McCaffrey, GOP caucus leader, on his re-election bid even though Bellone strong backed his aide Tim Sini, who is now awaiting legislative confirmation to become police commissioner.
The foundation made its biggest splurge in the hotly contested Riverhead supervisor race where it spent a total of $165,000. The foundation spent $71,669 on Jody Giglio, who won the GOP primary against incumbent Republican Supervisor Sean Walter. The group also listed spending $94,096 on Walter, but the supervisor, who won the general election running only on the Conservative line, said the union spent that money against him.
Walter said the foundation spent more money on the race than all the major parties and the candidates combined, altogether making it the most expensive race in town history.