Archive (2008)

Massa Op-Ed

Eric Massa has an op-ed about the budget in today's Corning Leader [pdf].  There's also an interesting editorial on Obama from a pretty conservative newspaper.

Morning Roundup

Tom Reynolds' retirement caused a political consultant to tell WHAM-13 that a three-office sweep could be possible for Democrats in Western New York.

The NRCC's cash on hand at the end of February is down $1.3 million.  They have $5.1 milllion, compared to the DCCC's $38 million.  The only bright spot for the NRCC is that retiring members are donating part of their campaign chests to the NRCC.

Another Retirement

According to media reports, Tom Reynolds (NY-26) will announce his retirement today.  This leaves Randy Kuhl as the only incumbent Republican running in Western New York.  Reynolds' retirement is late and unexpected, and it probably means another drain on the budget of the NRCC, since Reynolds was a reliable fundraiser.

In 2006, the Rochester media market was crowded with ads from Tom Reynolds and his self-financed opponent, Tom Davis.  Reynolds was also able to garner a significant amount of free press coverage due to his party standing, including a visit from Laura Bush.  Without the presence of Reynolds and Jim Walsh (NY-25), the 29th race might be the best-funded and most-covered campaign in the Rochester area. 

Iraq Coverage

Eric Massa, Jon Powers (NY-26 candidate) and Dan Maffei (NY-25 candidate) held a joint press conference this morning to discuss the fifth anniversary of the Iraq War.  Massa also held an individual conference later, which was covered by Rochesterturning.

In more general coverage, the Messenger-Post has a long look-back on the war which mentions Kuhl and Massa. 

Responsible Plan Site Launches

A new site,, has launched to publicize the new Iraq exit plan co-authored by Eric Massa, nine other Democratic congressional candidates, and four military experts.  Besides an exit strategy that is based on Iraq Study Group recommendations, the plan also addresses humanitarian issues, the restoration of Constitution-guaranteed checks and balances, restoring the military and the independence of a free press, and changing energy policy. 

Afternoon Roundup

Reader Elmer sends Randy Kuhl's op-ed from today's Corning Leader [pdf].  Kuhl's topic is the budget.

Eric Massa is one of a group of congressional challengers who are supporting an Iraq re-deployment plan.  The plan will be unveiled later today at the Take Back America conference.

The End of the Dickert Affair

The whole Sanford Dickert/Eric Massa mess has ended with a whimper, 16 months after it emerged with a bang.

Long-time readers probably recall that Eric Massa fired his first campaign manager, Sanford Dickert, shortly after Dickert came to Corning to work on the campaign.  The firing resulted in the filing of two legal actions by Dickert, one with an arbitrator, and the other in NY court.  At the time, I wrote a long analysis of the case based on legal documents that Dickert had posted on a website he created devoted to the action.  That website is long gone, but Dickert continues to post updates on the case to his personal blog.

In January of 2007, Dickert posted the news that he and the Massa campaign had settled the first dispute over what he was owed by the campaign.  Dickert got a $40,000 settlement, even though he says that spent over $50,000 in lawyers' fees to litigate the matter.

In the latest post on the matter, Dickert released a settlement document where both parties affirm that the other is just absolutely swell.  This document apparently settles the libel suit filed by Dickert, and it signals the end of all the legal disputes between the two parties.

I've exchanged a number of emails with Dickert, who was trying to convince me to pull down the original story about the Dickert/Massa controversy.  I stand by that story, which is the result of carefully reading every word of the legal documents he provided.  I also stand by the conclusion I made there, which is that Massa made a rookie mistake by using a pretty thin employment agreement to back up a handshake with Dickert, but he did nothing illegal or immoral.  I think Dickert got the best possible outcome he could, and it's a pyrrhic victory at best.

Waiting for the Spin on PAA

The House just passed an amendment to the Senate Amendment to the Protect America Act that strips out immunity for telecommunications providers.  Instead, the new provision allows a secure court to review evidence explaining why telecoms provided wiretaps for the government without proper authorization.

The Republicans pulled out the stops, procedural and rhetorical, to pass this bill with immunity intact.  Today, the House had a secret session for the first time in 25 years, where Republicans tried to explain why retroactive immunity is necessary.  Last month, they walked out of the chamber in protest.  Back then, Randy Kuhl posted a blog entry which warned that the expiration of the PAA would have dire consequences for the nation, yet he voted against an extension. Today, President Bush said that the PAA is needed for "our children to be safe from terror."  Bush maintains this line even after repeated audits have shown that the current surveillance powers have been consistently abused by the FBI.

The Senate could still try to strip out immunity, but it sounds like the House has come to a compromise that might work.  Of course, Kuhl voted against it, along with every other Republican in Congress, even though his position a month ago was that we are in dire peril if the PAA isn't passed.  He hasn't posted anything on his blog yet, but I'm eager to hear how this vote kept us safer.

Memo to the NRCC

I realize that this might not be the best of times.  You've got forensic accountants crawling all over the place trying to figure out how your treasurer managed to embezzle a million bucks.  House members have been sitting on "their dead asses" instead of  fundraising.  And your former leader, Tom Davis, told the Washington Post, "The House Republican brand is so bad right now that if it were a dog food, they'd take it off the shelf."

With all the bad news floating around, you guys must be feeling like that old Doors song, "Been down so Goddam long it feels like up to me."  But don't let your understandable situational depression cloud your judgment.   This is not good news for you or Randy Kuhl, and there's no reason for you to reprint it on your web site.

As I explained it yesterday in this post, which you might want to review, when you start throwing mud around, some of it gets splattered on you. 

Massa Press Coverage

The Corning Leader has two stories about Eric Massa and Eliot Spitzer.  The first reports that Massa returned Spitzer's donation, and the second gets his response to the resignation.

Massa's appearance on the DCCC "Red-to-Blue" list is also mentioned in a Congressional Quarterly item.

Update:  The Messenger-Post also has a story on the Spitzer resignation quoting Massa and Kuhl.

Everybody Gets Dirty in a Mudfight

Today's Washington Post delivers the headline lesson to the NRCC (National Republican Congressional Committee) and Randy Kuhl.  Immediately after Spitzer's announcement on Monday, the NRCC began flooding reporters' mailboxes with spin emails calling for New York Democrats to return Spitzer contributions.   As the story notes, most of Democrats did, and quickly.  But reporters, being reporters, look for balance in their stories, so the Post runs this:

Earlier this week, the NRCC attacked three freshman New York House Democrats -- Reps. Michael Arcuri, Kirsten Gillibrand and John Hall-- and two New York Democratic House candidates, Dan Maffei and Eric Massa, for taking money from Spitzer.

Massa returned the cash but only after the NRCC circulated three freeze-frame photos of Massa and Spitzer together, taken from one of Massa's own campaign ads, which featured the words "trust," "integrity" and "respect."

Massa is running for a second consecutive time against Rep John R. "Randy" Kuhl, Jr. (R-N.Y.), who is no stranger to controversy himself. Kuhl's sealed divorce records were leaked weeks before the 2004 election, when Kuhl was elected for the first time. Kuhl's now-ex-wife alleged that Kuhl pulled not one but two shotguns on his wife at a dinner party and threatened to shoot her, according to media reports at the time.

Kuhl, who rushed out a press release on Spitzer the afternoon the scandal broke, could also learn a bit from Tom Reynolds.  Reynolds has said nothing that I can find on the matter.  Luckily for Reynolds, his presumptive opponent, Jon Powers, didn't get any money from Spitzer, so the NRCC didn't send out a press release about him.

Noon Roundup

Rochesterturning has a Massa press conference writeup, which details how Massa got rid of his Spitzer bumper sticker, and more importantly, Massa's view that Admiral Fallon was fired.

RT also reports that Massa has made the DCCC "Red to Blue" list, meaning that the race in the 29th is considered a likely Democratic turnover and will get extra DCCC money and attention.