The incestuous relationship between Working Families Party & Data & Field Services
Please read Part I where I introduce all the players in this ultra-liberal progressive minor political party.
This is the second entry of an ongoing series about the party formed in New York state and their corrupt and networked liaisons, persons, groups and entities. I’ll be referring to Working Families Party as “WFP.”
As discussed in Part I, Working Families Party is a minor political party begun in New York state in 1998 after the failure of Daniel Cantor’s New Party. Cantor and others who started the New Party had hopes their idea of cross-endorsing candidates would take hold in all 50 states, but only a handful of states allow cross-endorsing: a biggie being New York. And that is where their remarkable success lies. WFP is an ultra-liberal progressive spawn of ACORN, SEIU and other labor unions. WFP is a not-for-profit but as with corrupt organizations a way can always be found to accomplish their goal: here being the marketing of the WFP candidates and progressive agenda by skirting or perhaps breaking campaign finance law.
Data & Field Services was a corporation set up explicitly to accomplish the goal of dancing around campaign finance laws with WFP. Incorporated in 2007 by Kevin Finnegan who at the time was an attorney for WFP but is now the political director for SEIU1199, DFS is a for-profit company funded by mostly big labor and is controlled by WFP and allows WFP to hide its campaign expenditures from the public. Most WFP candidates in New York have hired Data & Field services to run their campaigns. And apparently those “favored” by WFP are receiving a reduced rate for their campaign services. For example, Bill De Blasio of Brooklyn only paid $5,000 for a list of their voters, when the going rate for these same services elsewhere is between $25,000- $40,000. So it appears that Working Families Party could be subsidizing certain candidates who are in sync with their platform of progressive/socialist/liberal ideas.
In New York city the limit candidates can donate to a political party is $10,000 so the formation of a for-profit to hide disclosure of donations over and above that amount was brilliant: or so Finnegan and WFP thought. The level of visibility about the activities and monies being transferred back and forth between both entities is reduced but still visible if one knows where and how to look. According to an investigative report by City Hall News WFP in a sixth month period in 2009 transferred $554,629, which they listed as wages, and $253,855 listed as campaign spending to DFS, making a grand total for the period of about $800,000. Big labor, including Communication Workers of America, United Federation of Teachers and the Teamsters were the biggest donors, coming in for a total of $345,000 from January to July of 2009. No one knows how this money was spent.
Not only are the two entities of WFP and DFS intertwined in this scheme, but at least six New York City council campaigns as well. It’s possible over $1 million is involved in this elaborate plan with at least $1.7 million in matching taxpayer dollars. And as stated in my previous post, even though the NY Secretary of State has WFP’s address listed on Third St. in Brooklyn, their website has it listed at 2 Nevins St. in Brooklyn. This is the same address the SoS has listed for DFS. So being in the same building makes it even easier for their dirty and corrupt work to be accomplished. But we really shouldn’t be too much surprised about all of this, as a quote from that same the NY Post article tells us:
The WFP, after all, was designed to turn union cash into political muscle [emphasis mine]. Its door-to-door canvassing operation is considered especially effective.
Sounds a lot like ACORN and SEIU goings-on to me. Remember, they were spawned from ACORN and SEIU.
And speaking of canvassing. Joe Kenton, a 26 year old from South Dakota living in Harlem, was earning $500 a week during the Obama campaign period going door-to-door for the WFP Dem state senatorial candidate Brian Foley, who was running against GOP incumbent Caesar Trunzo.
WFP in just under 10 years has contributed to some remarkable upsets, presumably because of their “arrangement” with DFS. They have been so effective that:
Democrats in the Senate have effectively outsourced their entire ground game to the unassuming army of Working Families canvassers at a price of about $700,000. On any given day, about 200 of its people are in the field.
Cantor, the Executive Director tells us:
The employees of DFS, Cantor explained, are “organizers, mobilizers, campaigners,” as well as “some core of kind of field managers, leadership team.”
Cantor went on to say after being asked by City Hall the nature of the “data” collected, he said he was unaware of any. But as far as the “field services”:
“It could go from soup to nuts: it could involve strategizing, messaging, our volunteer mobilization–that’s a gigantic part of the puzzle,” he said, “canvassing, GOTV, phone banking–although that’s almost always 100 percent volunteer, but someone has to organize the volunteers.”
In a development on July 12, a WFP employee named Patrick Crooks quit after only one week on the job. Crooks claims he was so disturbed by by their practices and job requirements he just couldn’t take it. According to the New York Post:
Brooklyn resident Patrick Crooks said he was encouraged by higher-ups to falsify names and addresses on sign-up sheets supporting the left-wing party’s push to repeal a state law that took rent regulation out of the city’s hands and gave it to the state.
“I saw that everyone else was doing it [putting down fake names] and my field manager was encouraging it . . . just so it looked like other people had been signing . . . But from my second day onward I decided not to do it . . . It just didn’t seem right to me,” Crooks, 26, from Maryland, told The Post.
Mike Boland, executive director of DFS, has disputed Crooks’ accusations. Both WFP and DFS are under investigation by a federal US attorney and the New York Campaign Finance Board.
Now that I’ve set the stage for this incestuous relationship subsequent entries will divulge the networks between WFP and at least three US senators, two governors and perhaps a gubernatorial candidate.
Next entry however will be Working Families Party & Data and Field Services. They have an offer they think they can refuse.
Crossposted at Emerging Corruption
Crossposted at Conservative Outlooks