Nassau Democratic chairman Jay Jacobs called on Republican Hempstead Supervisor Kate Murray to return more than $23,000 in campaign contributions after Newsday reported Tuesday she received donations from local GOP political clubs that have violated state elections law by failing to file their campaign finance disclosures with the state for the past nine years.
A Newsday computer analysis of Long Island's 113 local Democratic and Republican political clubs, found eight Nassau GOP clubs had not filed disclosures since 2006, despite state law requiring all political clubs and committees that raise or spend more than $1,000 annually to file financial disclosure reports annually with the State Board of Elections. Violators can face civil fines or criminal penalties.
The clubs -- Massapequa South, Seaford, Merrick, North Bellmore, Lakeview, North Massapequa, Roosevelt and Manhasset -- said many of their older treasurers had difficulty transitioning when the state moved to electronic filing in 2006 or had filed paper forms to the Nassau County Board of Elections, believing it satisfied the requirements. County elections officials said they directed clubs to file with the state.
According to Murray's campaign finance disclosures, she received $23,575 from the clubs, including $9,425 from the Seaford Republican Club, which is led by former Town of Hempstead deputy general services Commissioner Charles Milone, and $10,625 from the North Bellmore Republican Club, which is led by Town of Hempstead Water Department Commissioner John Reinhardt.
Jacobs, in a news release sent Wednesday, called on Murray who is running for Nassau District Attorney to "return these tainted funds." Murray is running against Democrats Madeline Singas, who is acting district attorney, and Michael Scotto, a former Manhattan prosecutor.
"Failing to do so will show she has neither the principles nor desire to root out public corruption in our communities," Jacobs said.
Murray's campaign spokesman Bill Corbett did not immediately respond to an email seeking comment Wednesday, but when previously asked about whether she would return the money said "as of now" she had no plans to do so.
If Murray were to win the Nassau district attorney's race, among her responsibilities would be the prosecution of campaign finance law crimes, including those investigated by her office or by state elections investigators.
Murray's campaign spokesman in a previous interview said that if Murray were elected district attorney she would ask for a special prosecutor in the "unlikely event" that the clubs that donated to her campaign were referred to her office for prosecution.
Asked about the legality of accepting contributions from clubs that have not filed their disclosures, State Board of Elections Spokesman Thomas Connolly said in an email "there is no responsibility on the part of the receiver of the contribution to check if a contributor is filing with the appropriate board ... The main responsibility of the candidate or committee receiving the contribution is to ensure its disclosure in their own filings."