Fair Campaign Practices cites Assembly candidate Cheryl Roberts for unfair practices
Published: Friday, October 19, 2012
TROY — While the Fair Campaign Practices of the Capital Region organization found state Assembly candidate Cheryl Roberts was unfair in some of her campaigning against incumbent Steve McLaughlin, she noted that her opponent also put out seemingly inaccurate information.
In response to a complaint made by McLaughlin, R-Melrose, the FCP reviewed information provided and interviewed available parties during a committee hearing on Wednesday, explained Rev. Maurice Drown, the group’s president. The League of Women voters formed the FCP more than a decade ago to be an unbiased third-party entity to review possible unfair tactics used during the political campaigning season.
“It’s certainly a sad day and does not reflect well on the political process for those like myself who run honest campaigns and earn votes on my own merits,” said McLaughlin. “It’s unfortunate that my opponent was this desperate and resorted to lying about my voting record. Middle-class families are fed up with the dishonesty coming out of Albany. I’m sure the voting public will look with suspicion on what my opponent says for the remainder of her campaign. Dishonest individuals like my opponent have no place representing us.”
McLaughlin, who is serving his first term in the 107th state seat, made a complaint that Roberts had falsely accused him of voting against a sales tax cut on clothing and footwear under $110. By the end of the committee hearing, both parties had agreed McLaughlin was not in office in 2010 when the particular budget bill was up for a vote. Therefore, Roberts was in violation of certain FCP principles, according to the FCP, which found that she did not conduct her campaign truthfully since there was inaccurate information and her flyer misrepresented McLaughlin.
“Assemblyman McLaughlin has criticized my campaign for mistakenly asserting that he opposed the sales tax exemption. This assertion by my campaign was based on the knowledge that McLaughlin voted against this year’s budget tax bill,” said Roberts in a statement.
She also asserted that McLaughlin was highlighted in a legislative flyer regarding the tax exemption for items under $110. The flyer stated he was “delivering tax relief” by reinstating the exemption on clothing, coats, hats, shoes, baby apparel and gloves, according to the flyer. She noted, “He did not ever vote for the sales tax exemption he is taking credit for.”
“The legislative flyer our opponent refers to has nothing to do with the chief complaint at hand: our opponent clearly was not truthful in her campaign material,” according to a statement from McLaughlin.
The official legislative mailer was not in the purview of the committee since it only handles campaign items, said Drown. “It was a difficult decision. It was complicated since there really was not anyone speaking for Roberts at the committee meeting.”
Roberts submitted a statement as representation and the Democratic party was represented by county chairman Tom Wade. Hearing panel members included Judy Coburn, Mary Jane Ellis, Michael Foster, Beverly LaBarge, Barry Leibson, and Chairperson Joan Elliott and Coordinator Barbara Thomas. Bryon McKim and Nick Wilock represented McLaughlin. Drown confirmed that no one on the panel was affiliated with either McLaughlin or Roberts.
The 107th state Assembly district covers most of Rensselaer County and parts of Columbia and Washington counties.