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Nassau, Hempstead employees gave to PAC that ran ads attacking Kathleen Rice

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice is seen

Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice is seen on Tuesday, November 4, 2014 in Garden City. Credit: Howard Schnapp

WASHINGTON -- Town of Hempstead and Nassau County employees made up a third of the donors to a $50,000 fund that was channeled to an obscure super PAC for ads attacking Democratic House candidate Kathleen Rice just days before the Nov. 4 election, federal campaign finance reports from the Nassau County Republican Committee show.

The Nassau GOP last week filed the reports identifying the previously undisclosed list of 83 donors -- which also includes lobbyist and former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato -- in response to the Federal Election Commission's inquiries last month about the $50,000 fund.

But Nassau Republicans still haven't explained how or why they made the donation to the Massachusetts-based Independent Majority Group -- a super PAC that had the same legal adviser as Rice's opponent, Republican Bruce Blakeman.

Nassau Republican committee spokesman Anthony Santino on Friday said he had no further details on the last-minute contribution to the super PAC.

"Like I said before, we get a lot of requests [for money from campaigns] at the end of the day, and I haven't pursued it beyond that," Santino said.

The super PAC began airing the ads -- without disclosing the funding source -- in the days before the election as the House race tightened between Rice, then the Nassau County district attorney, and Blakeman, now a Town of Hempstead board member. Rice won.

On Jan. 31, Nassau Republicans filed a tardy registration as a federal party committee, and a late report on raising and spending $50,000 without saying where it came from or went. On March 2, the Federal Election Commission asked for more information.

The Nassau GOP responded on April 3. It identified donors in two reports for the periods before and after the election. The donors gave $500 or $1,000 each. D'Amato contributed $1,000.

It said in a third report it had not raised any money during the first quarter of this year.

The Federal Election Commission's reports analysis division will review the filings to determine if they are adequate responses, said commission spokeswoman Judith Ingram.

The Nassau GOP handling of the donation is an example of how the Federal Election Commission system is gamed to delay disclosure of who paid for ads until after the election, said Washington election-law attorney Brett Kappel.

Unless someone files a complaint, he said, the Nassau GOP will just have to pay administrative fines for filing late reports.

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