A group of underdog Republican candidates are pushing the state attorney general to take action against the “dirty tricks” a Democratic Board of Elections commissioner described in a controversial video leaked earlier this month.
Conservative nonprofit group Project Veritas stirred a furor when it released a hidden camera recording of Manhattan BOE Commissioner Alan Schulkin alleging that organizations bus people to vote at multiple polling sites in minority neighborhoods, and that Mayor Bill de Blasio’s municipal identification program enables voter fraud. Now, the Observer has obtained a letter four struggling GOP candidates penned New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, a liberal Democrat, to interview Schulkin to learn more about his allegations and to bring any lawbreakers to justice.
“This is very troubling as it seems to indicate the past elections may have been illegally manipulated to favor the reelection of incumbent Democrat elected officials or candidates favored by Democratic party leaders,” wrote Carlos Giron, a former sports journalist and public relations consultant challenging Queens State Senator Toby Stavisky on the Republican, Conservative and Reform Party lines. “I want to ensure that such potential fraud and ‘dirty tricks’ do not occur in my upcoming race.”
Giron—an immigrant born in Guatemala and a U.S. citizen—also noted that her son, Evan Stavisky, is a powerful lobbyist and political campaign consultant “well versed in all aspects of politics.”
Neither Schneiderman’s office nor Stavisky immediately responded to requests for comment.
Alex Merced, a Libertarian candidate challenging incumbent New York Senator Charles Schumer; Jesus Gonzalez, a candidate running on the Republican, Conservative and Reform tickets against State Senator Jose Peralta; and Usman Ali, a Republican candidate and St. John’s University student challenging Assemblywoman Nily Rozic, were also named in the letter as supporting Giron’s request for Schneiderman’s office to look into the matter.
The Merced, Gonzalez and Ali campaigns did not immediately respond to a requests for comment.
Schulkin’s comments “have cast a dark shadow of doubt in the integrity of the NYC electoral system as a whole,” Giron said. He asked the attorney general to investigate his claims as it relates to potential fraudulent activities conducted by any number of possible suspects, including incumbent elected officials, their surrogates and other groups and individuals “with a vested interest in seeing Democrat elected officials win reelection or in having favored party candidates win elections.”
“Furthermore, if blatant illegal voting is taking place, the illegitimate votes would, in effect, neutralize and void the legitimate and legal votes of New York citizens. I hope that you believe that this is completely unacceptable,” Giron wrote.
Giron seems to be following the lead of Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, who recently claimed that the election next month will be “rigged,” and even said during the final presidential debate that he might not accept the result if he does not win. And the New York State Republican committee chairman recently accused Mayor Bill de Blasio of breeding suspicion of a cover-up by calling on Schulkin to resign instead of an investigation.
Earlier this week, the state Board of Elections’ investigative unit subpoenaed Schulkin. Despite the calls for him to step down, Schulkin has insisted he’s staying put.
Staten Island Councilman Joe Borelli—co-chairman of Trump’s New York campaign—requested that the Council’s Government Operations Committee hold a hearing Wednesday to probe Schulkin’s claims. There, BOE Executive Director Michael Ryan testified that he knew of no evidence of extensive or systematic voter fraud.
“Regardless of whether it’s the Libertarian Party, Green Party or the Republican Party, we all deserve a fair shot at representing the people,” Merced said in a statement Giron said the aspiring U.S. senator asked him to include in his letter. “Electoral rules are established to ensure open and fair elections. We cannot allow corrupt politicians, their surrogates and other vested interests to blatantly break the rules, use schemes and dirty tricks to violate either the letter or spirit of our electoral laws.”
Disclosure: Donald Trump is the father-in-law of Jared Kushner, the publisher of Observer Media.