Former GOP senator Nick Spano, a felon convicted of federal tax evasion in 2012, attacked Republican Rob Astorino and his family in a letter regarding fundraising efforts for he and Cuomo.
Astorino recently received some heat for groups that were using D-Day imagery as a fundraising pitch for Astorino in his quest to unseat Governor Cuomo. Astorino pushed for discretion, but did not respond to suggestions that he return contributions made during the D-Day drive. Nor should he respond to such requests. While the tactics may be a bit tacky, there was nothing illegal about the fundraising effort.
Astorino did however mention the fundraising efforts of Spano on Cuomo’s behalf.
Spano, thinking he discovered a “gotcha” situation, wrote the following:
Dear Mr. Astorino;
I am disappointed at the double standard you exhibited in defending your “D-Day” fundraiser that has offended many veterans because of its inappropriate images of veterans’ graves and its equating of the Governor to our enemies in World War Two.
Asked by these veterans and others to return the funds, rather than address the issue, your response was to criticize the Governor for accepting funds “raised by a convicted felon,” which your campaign staff confirmed was me.
Let me direct your attention to another convicted felon who donated to a political campaign, and how you reacted then. The convicted felon would be your father, the former Chief of Detectives of Mount Vernon, who served a year in federal prison after he pleaded guilty in 1994 to stealing money during an F.B.I investigation into police corruption. The political campaign would be yours for County Executive, to which you father made donations exceeding $1,200 some years after his release.
You showed support for your father following his arrest, saying in the newspapers that you were “proud of him.” Asked about him again when you announced your campaign for governor this year, you said “he paid his price, but we’ve always had a great relationship that continues to this day.”
You are a former Christian broadcaster, and claim to be guided by the principles of your faith. Yet it seems that, in your opinion, the right to pay the price for transgressions and move on is limited to your family, and that it does not apply to others.
How do you explain why it is fine for you to accept a donation from a convicted felon, yet not acceptable for anyone else?
If you wish to be Governor, I ask that you do a better job in considering the requirement to apply the same standards to all New Yorkers, and that you not reserve redemption and forgiveness only for members of your own family.
If you believe that a “convicted felon” should not be allowed to participate in the democratic process, then practice what you preach and start in your own home. To do otherwise would be completely hypocritical.
As Spano doesn’t seem to be bright enough to recognize the differences here, we will provide a short list to aide in the revelation that this is an apples to oranges comparison.
1) Astorino’s father donated to his son’s campaign. Cuomo is not Spano’s son.
2) Astorino’s father made contributions, Spano hosted a fundraiser garnering multiple contributions for Governor Cuomo.
3) Astorino’s contributions allegedly exceeded $1,200, Spano’s fundraiser started at $1,000 per ticket and climbed to $25,000 for “sponsorship levels.” Spano raised over $100,000 for Governor Cuomo.
4) Astorino’s father paid his debt to society as directed, Spano violated the terms of his release and was returned to prison.
Spano previously supported a Democrat back in 2009 who was running against Rob Astorino. Astorino is widely rumored to be the GOP opponent running against Cuomo for governor this year. Spano supported his Democrat opponent because he viewed Astorino as an “extremist.”
The irony of a convicted felon referring to Astorino as an extremist I’m sure is lost on both Spano and Governor Cuomo.