After the outsized fundraising of his political club brought him scrutiny from his own party earlier this year, it briefly appeared that Rob Walker, Nassau County Executive Ed Mangano’s chief deputy, was at it again.
His Hicksville Republican Committee this week filed its fundraising report for the first half of 2014, and the numbers within raised many eyebrows. Though the committee only reported two contributions, one was listed as $94,771 – from a global engineering firm with millions of dollars in new county business.
As it turns out, it was a clerical error.
The contribution from Arcadis, a Netherlands firm who is a lead consultant on the county’s massive wastewater treatment system repairs, was actually for $2,500. The check number that corresponded with the donation was 94771, and that figure was incorrectly used as the donation amount, Walker said.
By Wednesday morning, the report had been corrected on the state Board of Elections website. In the end, Walker’s club raised just $2,750 for the period, well below the $111,000 it had been averaging every six months since mid-2010.
Newsday had reported in March that Walker’s fundraising output was nearly three times that of Nassau’s other roughly 70 neighborhood GOP clubs. The activity had sparked talks in party circles that Walker was trying to build a network of influence apart from that of longtime Nassau Republican Chairman Joseph Mondello.
Walker denied that motive, and denied that his club, largely driven by donors with county business, served as a back-channel to Mangano’s campaign. After the story was published, Walker pledged his loyalty to Mondello, who sources said had threatened to dissolve the Hicksville club.
In an interview Wednesday, Walker said his lack of fundraising during early 2014 had nothing to do with quelling any concerns within his party. He said that he usually doesn’t do fundraising outside of his annual golf fundraiser, which is held in September.
“I really only do one fundraiser a year, the golf outing,” Walker said. “Everyone made this big thing out of [Hicksville's fundraising figures], but you take every other year and it’s always the same. I do the golf outing, and nothing else.”