According to a news report in Politico, U.S. Congressman Tim Bishop (D-NY-1) appears to have solicited a campaign contribution from a constituent in exchange for obtaining government permits for a fireworks show a man was seeking to host at his home for his son’s Bar Mitzvah.

Immediately, Republicans pounced.

“These revelations are extremely serious and need to be investigated by the FEC,” said Becky Miller, spokeswoman for the New York Republican Party. “Asking for political contributions in exchange for obtaining a government permit is illegal. This is exactly the type of behavior that makes average New Yorkers disgusted with career politicians who are more concerned with getting re-elected than being a public servant.”

She continued, “This behavior is unethical at best and shows an emerging pattern  of questionable actions related to Congressman Bishop’s handling of his campaign account. If Congressman Bishop can’t be trusted with his own campaign account, why hould the people of Suffolk County trust him with their hard-earned tax dollars?”

The following is a statement from Altschuler for Congress Campaign Manager Diana Weir on the Politico story.

“We are dismayed by today’s explosive story in Politico detailing how Congressman Tim Bishop apparently sought up to $10,000 in campaign contributions from local resident … in exchange for Bishop’s congressional office securing expedited approval on special environmental permits for a private fireworks show at [a constitute’s] Southampton home.

“On the heels of a non-partisan ethics group criticizing Congressman Bishop for abusing his power to funnel nearly $600,000 to a family member and their business, and his admission that he put ten family members on the payroll at debt-ridden Southampton College when he was in charge there, today’s story clearly demonstrates a pattern of unethical and, in this case, possibly illegal behavior by a career politician who has been in Washington for too long.

“In reading Congressman Bishop’s defense, it’s stunningly clear that after ten years in Congress he doesn’t even understand House Ethics rules, which clearly state that soliciting campaign contributions of any size linked with official action is strictly prohibited, especially when the request for official action is pending or has occurred.” Note: edited the report and quotes to remove the name of the constitute.

As for the constitute, Politico reported that a few days after the party he complained in an email to employees of Grucci Firework that Bishop “didn’t hestitate to solicit me in the heat of battle” and called the request, for up to $10,000, “really gross.”

But in an email to Bishop after the party and again in an interview this week, the constitute praised the congressman’s efficient work to help secure the permits and said that nothing untoward occurred the constitute repeated, however, that it was Bishop’s campaign staff that brought up the idea of a donation.

According to Politico, the constitute needed his assistance because Grucci Fireworks could not obtain the needed environmental permits in time for the fireworks display.

Oddly enough, Grucci Fireworks’s executive vice president and chief financial officer, Felix Grucci, is a former Republican House member whom Bishop defeated in 2002 to win the seat.

Meanwhile, the Tim Bishop for Congress campaign launched two ads across the district today. The two ads, named “Business Is,” and “Fortune” highlight Randy Altschuler’s career as a job-destroying outsourcer. The ads use Altschuler’s own words to show how he spent a career teaching American companies how to send American jobs to places such as India.

“Every night when Randy Altschuler goes to sleep, he knows that if his investments do well, middle class families will be paying the price,” Congressman Tim Bishop said. “We need jobs on Long Island, not in India or other low wage countries.”

According to the ad, Randy Altschuler founded OfficeTiger in 1999, a corporation with the sole purpose of teaching companies how to outsource jobs in 1999. He later served on the board of directors of a similar corporation named GlobalLogic.

The Bishop ad campaign maintains that  Altschuler’s financial disclosure shows that the GOP candidate retains as much as $550,000 in investments in these two companies.

Congressman Bishop noted his work to stop companies that outsource from receiving government grants or loans. Bishop authored a piece of legislation with 138 bipartisan co-sponsors that would stop outsourcers from receiving government help and would also make call center employees disclose their location to U.S. consumers.

Source: Long Island Politics


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