Rick Brand Portrait of Newsday reporter Rick Brand taken on

Rick Brand is a longtime Newsday reporter who writes about politics and government on Long Island.

There is at least one perk for working as Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone’s chief deputy.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Dennis Cohen, Bellone’s top aide, dutifully contributed $1,000 to the county executive’s golf fundraiser last month. But Bellone’s July 15 campaign finance report shows the county executive’s campaign committee refunded Cohen his entire donation to the event.

Jason Elan, Bellone spokesman, indicated Bellone returned the money because Cohen played so poorly that the county executive invoked a links version of the mercy rule. Referring to the cheating judge and country club head played by Ted Knight in the movie “Caddyshack,” Elan said, “Unlike Judge Smalls, Dennis played fair and square, took no mulligans, and was comped, despite his poor performance on the back nine.”