Republican Councilman Dan Halloran, a candidate for congress in northeastern Queens, gave a long, 36-minute speech before a conservative group in Suffolk County at the end of last week where he unloaded a multitude of charges against his Democratic opponent, Assemblywoman Grace Meng. Notably, he implied she is somehow involved with the alleged criminal schemes of her father, former Assemblyman Jimmy Meng, who was arrested last month and charged with soliciting an $80,000 bribe to fix a court case. Ms. Meng has declared her independence.
“Grace Meng has spent $1.1 million dollars. She raised $1 million, she spent $1.1 million. Can anyone do the math?” Mr. Halloran rhetorically asked. “She’s $100,000 in the hole. Her father was arrested last week for accepting an $80,000 bribe. You can do the math there and figure it out. He was also — by the way — kicked out of the Assembly for voter fraud in 2004. His campaign manager was Grace Meng, my opponent.”
“Grace Meng bundled $450,000 through her father, who put the arm on somebody for an $80,000 loan in a fruit basket to get somebody off of a criminal case in Manhattan,” he continued. “Who would he have gone to do that, since he’s not an elected official? I don’t know, I guess you’re going to have to ask yourself that question. Maybe the press will start asking it at some point too.”
It’s difficult to know how Mr. Halloran arrived at that “$450,000” number, because, as City & State pointed out, that information is not publicly available. Indeed, Mr. Halloran’s campaign has pushed on Ms. Meng to disclose her bundlers. Nevertheless, it’s a rather serious charge to insinuate that one’s opponent was set to be involved in corrupt, illegal activities.
That wasn’t the only attack Mr. Halloran leveled against Ms. Meng in the speech, however. Pointing to his sterling attendance record despite undergoing brain surgery this year, he said his opponent’s racial identity might factor into her not taking her legislative duty as seriously. Ms. Meng leveled accusations of “racism” against Mr. Halloran yesterday for previously — and incorrectly — referring to her as a “Chinese national.”
“My opponent missed 77% of the votes in Albany, last year,” Mr. Halloran argued. “I found the time in between my major surgery to get to work. But she’s collected a $78,000 paycheck on your dime without bothering to go to work at all. She’s entitled to the seat. Why? Because she’s the Asian candidate. She represents the Chinese community in Flushing right now.”
The overall purpose of Mr. Halloran’s speech appeared to be raising money for his own campaign. He strongly encouraged the group, the Conservative Society for Action, to contribute to his electoral efforts, which he said would be decisive in the race.
“I have no delusions that I’m in an uphill battle,” he said, citing the Democratic nature of the congressional district. “My opponent raised $1.1 million dollars. I don’t need 1.1 to get my message out. You give me half a million dollars, I will destroy her. Destroy her on her own record. I don’t have to get negative, I just have to get factual.”
We have reached out to Ms. Meng’s campaign and will update if they have any response to these broadsides. They have responded critically to Mr. Halloran in the past.
Update (11:19 a.m.): Austin Finan, a spokesman for Grace Meng gave the following response to Politicker:
“Dan Halloran simply makes things up and believes them as fact. Voters are surely disturbed by an elected official who is so blinded by his racism and misguided by his delusions. Throwing a tantrum like a child who hasn’t gotten his sweets, Mr. Halloran has yet again shown he doesn’t have the temperament necessary to hold federal office.”
“We already have a Congress dominated by radical, Tea Party Republicans who are hell-bent on dismantling Medicare at the expense of seniors and crippling working men and women in favor of tax breaks for the wealthiest one percent of Americans. Middle class families in Queens cannot afford representation in Washington that is so terribly misguided and out of touch with their everyday struggles.”
Watch the entire animated affair below: