Pigeongate lawyer update

I am committed to providing accurate information for this blog, and if there is something that requires a correction or an addendum, I will provide it whenever new information presents itself.

First a correction. I wrote on June 5th that of the $85,000 that Senator Tim Kennedy’s political committee contributed to the WNY Progressive Caucus in 2013, $45,000 was listed in a Kennedy for Senate committee financial disclosure, and that $40,000 was donated through some dormant committee that Kennedy had when he was a county legislator. That is incorrect. Both the $45,000 and the $40,000 Kennedy contributions were reported through his Kennedy for Senate committee. I apologize for posting the incorrect information.

Update on the update, 6/12/15 at 10:38 am:  Alan Bedenko just tweeted that WNYPC’s financial filings in 2013 originally did list $40,000 coming from Kennedy for Senate and $45,000 from Friends of Tim Kennedy, a political committee that had been inactive since 2011.

In the Lawyering Up article that I posted on June 1st I listed several people with obvious or potential roles in the Pigeongate events. I listed Senator Tim Kennedy as having retained noted defense attorney Terry Connors.

Geoff Kelly in The Public (http://www.dailypublic.com/articles/06092015/public-record-11-ways-looking-pigeon) reports that Kennedy and/or Connors recently commented on TV and denied that Senator Kennedy had retained Mr. Connors for anything having to do with the Pigeongate investigations. A friend tells me he saw such a report on TV. I have searched the websites of the local television stations and can find no story in their archives on this.

At this point there is nothing to gain by trying to argue whether Kennedy has retained Connors for Pigeongate matters. I have no way of independently verifying the point, so I will take their denial for what it is worth.

Public records, however, do indicate substantial work for the Kennedy for Senate committee by the Connors firm. Most candidates or elected officials, when they need some legal assistance, can usually find an attorney willing to help for little or no compensation. We also know that no one goes to the Connors firm for assistance if the campaign posted a sign in a place that was off limits, or if the senator received a parking ticket, or some minor issue like that.

Here is a list of the campaign expenditures by the Kennedy for Senate committee to the Connors firm for professional services since October 2012:

  • $25,000 on October 16, 2012
  • $20,000 on August 28, 2014
  • $20,000 on October 20, 2014
  • $1,759.99 on November 2, 2014
  • $19,260 on November 24, 2014

The total of these payments is $86,019.99.

The Kennedy for Senate committee also made a substantial payment from campaign funds to another law firm for professional services. The Gallaher firm (which I assume to be Colucci and Gallaher, since the address that is listed is the Liberty Building) was paid $34,335 on January 7, 2013. So the total reported law firm expenses of the Kennedy for Senate committee since October 2012 is $120,354.99. This is way over and above the amount that any local campaign committee might spend for attorney professional services. I’ll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions about this.

If you add the $85,000 in contributions to WNYPC to the $120,354.99 for legal services, you get total spending by the Kennedy committee of $205,354.99 for a rogue committee and attorney services. That is not what most people who donate to a political committee expect their money to be used for.

Both Senator Kennedy and Mr. Connors are sent this blog. I will be happy to post any comment that they wish to submit on the subject.

Future Posts

If you wish to receive future articles by email when they are posted, simply send an email to politicsandstuff15@gmail.com and write “subscribe” and I will add you to my distribution list.   Ken Kruly