Spin Cycle

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Answering successive big-money buys by GOP groups, a Democratic Super PAC is now jumping into the high-profile congressional race between Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) and Republican Randy Altschuler.

The House Majority PAC, whose mission is to help Democrats regain control of congress, announced this morning that they have spent $260,000 on a new television ad highlighting Altschuler’s first company, OfficeTiger, which provided a large amount of its business support services through foreign workers.

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Altschuler, the St. James resident who now chairs an electronic recycling company, is also targeted for largely endorsing the federal budget plan by the GOP Vice Presidential nominee, Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin. Democrats have made attacking Ryan’s proposal to privatize Medicare a main campaign platform.

“It’s clear Altschuler’s got the wrong values for New York,” said Alixandria Lapp, Executive Director of House Majority PAC.

The Altschuler campaign has strongly objected to the offshoring attacks made by Bishop and his allies, though the firm once referenced to itself as a leader in business process outsourcing. The campaign notes that OfficeTiger created 750 U.S. jobs along with its 3,000-plus overseas positions, and never displaced American workers.

House Majority’s new ad comes a week after a leading independent Republican group, Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS, spent $260,000 on an ad attacking Bishop’s ethics. That spot highlights a controversy involving the Bishop campaign’s contact with a constituent who was seeking the congressman’s help with a permit.

Bishop has denied that he violated House ethics rules that prohibit soliciting a donation in exchange for an official action, saying it was the constituent who first expressed interest in contributing to the campaign. Meanwhile, an ethics watchdog agency is using news accounts of the incident to name Bishop to its annual "most corrupt" list, while Altschuler is pressuring the congressman to request a formal investigation into the incident.

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The ad buys on both sides show that independent money will likely have a significant impact on the Bishop-Altschuler race. Each national congressional committee has made the 2010 rematch a priority, with the National Republican Congressional Committee committing more than $500,000 for ads.

In addition to the Crossroads and committee expenditures, a Super PAC largely funded by an East Setauket financier has spent more than $300,000 in pro-Altschuler ads since early September.