The Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee, in a hearing it held Thursday, found that Democratic state Senate candidate George Latimer’s campaign had engaged in an unfair campaign practice.
The committee, which took up a complaint by Republican Bob Cohen, Latimer’s opponent for the 37th District, found that by informing the media that it had filed a complaint against Cohen, the Latimer campaign had violated the fair campaign committee’s rule.
According to Cohen’s complaint, the Latimer campaign told the Journal News on Sept. 28 that it had filed a complaint with the Fair Campaign Practices Committee “regarding alleged unfair campaign practices.”
According to a statement released by the FCPC, Victor Mallison, Latimer’s lawyer, admitted to the committee that a representative of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee had contacted the Journal News about the complaint.
“News releases concerning the filing of a complaint may come only from the Committee,” the statement said. “If notice of the filing of a complaint is made public by any other source, the Committee will consider the action an unfair campaign practice.”
In a second hearing by the committee, prompted by a complaint from Latimer that a television commercial by Cohen misled people into thinking that regular people were interviewed on the street when in fact at least two of them had ties to Republican officials, the committee did not find any wrongdoing.
“The implication of a staged reporter hosting a spontaneous interview as a framework could have been misleading to some; however, the commercial was clearly labeled as a political advertisement,” ruled the committee.