Hours after the New York Public Research Group last week assailed Suffolk Conservative chairman Edward Walsh for taking $50,000 in corporate money from the super-conservative Koch Industries in “apparent violation” of state law, the minor party scrambled to revise its state filing.
At 7:35 p.m. Tuesday night, the Suffolk County Conservative Chairman’s Club amended its campaign finance filing to show that David Koch, one of two brothers who run Koch Industries, made an individual donation of $50,000. Under state law, corporations can only give $5,000 in aggregate to all campaigns; individuals can give up to $102,000 per candidate.
Walsh said he called the party treasurer after receiving media calls following NYPIRG's report, which found more than 1,003 campaign violations statewide over the last two years. He said the treasurer mistakenly listed Koch’s Manhattan business address even though the donation came from a personal checking account. “We located the check and made the correction,” he said.
Walsh said the local party reached out to Koch last year and honored him as “National Patriot of the Year” at a small fundraising dinner at Southampton’s tony Sebonack Country Club last fall. Koch made his $50,000 contribution to Walsh’s chairman club on Oct. 21, which was first reported in the party’s 27-post election day filing late last year.
“He’s a right wing as we are and we really hit it off,” said Walsh. “And when you look at the Suffolk County Conservatives, we’re about as good as it gets.”
That filing also showed that Walsh also got another $50,000 donation from Robert Mercer, a top official at hedge fund Renaissance Technologies, who has donated heavily to various GOP and conservative groups. Walsh said he met Mercer through former GOP congressional candidate Randy Altschuler. Ironically, company founder James Simons has donated heavily to Democrats and Marsha Laufer, wife of a top Renaissance official Henry Laufer, was former Brookhaven Democratic chairwoman.