Democrats said they are launching robocalls Tuesday to voters on Long Island’s East End that charge their Republican congressman, Lee Zeldin, has missed two-thirds of the hearings in his assignment to the House Veterans Affairs Committee.
But a spokeswoman for Zeldin, a first-term congressman from Shirley, denied the charge and said he had attended nearly three-quarters of the committee meetings.
The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, which is targeting Zeldin as a “no-show” congressman, said it compiled Zeldin’s attendance record in a review of the committee’s transcripts and hearing videos.
A committee aide said that method is the only way to determine a member’s attendance.
“Lee Zeldin claims to work for veterans, but he skipped two out of three hearings that addressed veterans issues,” said DCCC spokesman Bryan Lesswing in a news release. “If Zeldin has proved anything to his Long Island constituents, it’s that he likes to talk a lot but can’t be bothered to show up for work.”
Zeldin campaign spokeswoman Jennifer DiSiena pushed back on the charges.
“The Democratic Party should be completely ashamed of resorting to this untruthful, nasty smear of Congressman Zeldin’s record,” DiSiena said in a statement. “It’s an absurd lie and it’s disgusting. It’s also deeply troubling just how many times Congressman Zeldin’s opponent has repeated these lies publicly.”
She added, “If Congressman Zeldin ever has to miss a committee meeting he has often times been attending other committee meetings at the same exact time.”
The Democrats’ robocall says, “Congressman Lee Zeldin likes to talk about working for veterans, but he skipped two-thirds of Veterans Committee hearings in Congress. We shouldn’t be surprised since he also ducked a majority of Foreign Affairs “hearings that dealt specifically with ISIS and Syria.”
In January, the DCCC highlighted allegations that Zeldin missed more than half of full House Foreign Affairs Committee hearings in his first year in Congress, that were first reported by the New York Post. The DCCC said Zeldin missed 12 of 18 hearings that dealt specifically with ISIS and Syria.
But DiSiena on Tuesday said that Zeldin has attended “over 80 percent of his House Foreign Affairs Committee meetings that have dealt with ISIS or Syria.”
The National Republican Congressional Committee said it does not have any ads or robocalls running now against Zeldin’s Democratic opponent, former Southampton Town Supervisor Anna Throne-Holst.
But the NRCC has reserved post-Labor Day television-ad airtime of $1.8 million in Zeldin’s district.