Nobody ever said running for elected office was pretty.
Opponents for the 6th Congressional District got down and dirty over the course of two days, as a New York Post article sparked a round of campaign mudslinging between surrogates for Assemblywoman Grace Meng (D-Flushing) and Councilman Dan Halloran (R-Whitestone). Fundraising malfeasance? Check. Ineptitude? Check.
The Post article claimed Halloran could be facing criminal charges over lackluster campaign-finance report filings in his 2009 council run.
The article claimed the state Board of Elections was handing over default judgments against Halloran to the Albany district attorney’s office for possible investigation and prosecution.
What ensued was a rather ugly round of mudslinging. To wit:
• Meng spokesman Austin Finan,\ released a statement questioning Halloran’s moral fiber.
“Dan Halloran’s arrogance is dumbfounding. ... He is either wholly incompetent, supremely arrogant or desperately attempting to hide fundraising improprieties.”
• The Halloran campaign then denied the allegations while tossing allegations at its opponent.
“[Meng] violated House Ethics Rules by failing to file her personal financial disclosure in May. We look forward to the New York Post’s continued coverage of the race at hand.”
• Round two! Finan posts a defense of Meng’s filing flub and redirects back at Halloran.
“As we have stated several times now, this was simply a matter of an accidental, clerical oversight. ... Halloran can try as hard as he would like to divert attention away from his repeated campaign finance violations, but the taxpayers who helped fund his campaign are waiting for an honest answer. I would not advise them to hold their breath.”
• Hours later, the Halloran camp released a full explanation of the kerfuffle which boiled down to calling the New York Post story a fabrication. While there was a mix-up with Halloran’s filings, the campaign said, and he does owe the state Board of Elections thousands of dollars in fines, all matters regarding the filings have been cleared up and the Councilman is not facing criminal prosecution. Quotes in the Post story attributed to Board of Elections spokesman Thomas Connolly were simply made up.
“All filings with the State Board of Elections and City are complete, current and available online,” according to a statement from the Halloran campaign. It added, for good measure, “Meng violated House Ethics rules by not filing her personal financial disclosure in this race for Congress.”