Patronage and Nepotism are Alive and Well in the Brooklyn Republican Party
In an earlier post, we reviewed the role of the Wilson Pakula and how it has been used to diminish the Republican Party’s competitiveness in Brooklyn. A reader e-mailed us and pointed out an interesting pattern that we felt required some research. This reader mentioned that a good number of the Brooklyn Republican Party’s District Leadership consists of employees of the Board of Elections.
The reader points out the grave potential for conflicts of interest. Here’s the argument in general. Section 3-300 of New York State Election Law states that every employee of the Board of Elections can be appointed and removed at the pleasure of the Board. According to Section 3-200 and 3-204 of New York State Election Law, the commissioners that comprise the Board of Elections in New York City are appointed by the New York City Council upon the recommendation of the Democratic and Republican Party Chairs of each borough.
Therefore, if Board employees want to keep their jobs, activism within their own party could put them on the fast track to the unemployment line, particularly if it puts them in conflict with the party chair who appointed the commissioners who serve on the Board of Elections and are responsible for their appointment and removal.
It does appear that a party chair can exercise an inordinate amount of control over the decisions of any party leader who also works at the Board of Elections. On the flipside, using a District Leadership position to obtain a job at the Board of Election for themselves or a relative, by exercising the leverage that it is possible to affect the outcome of a County Chair election, for instance, is equally an abuse of party office.
But before examining the principle of the matter any further, let us ascertain how many District Leaders and/or family members in the Brooklyn Republican Party are employees of the Board of Elections.
Out of respect for the general privacy of those concerned, we will just refer you to the Brooklyn Republican Party’s website, Board of Elections Voter Data, and See Through NY if you wish to verify this information for yourself.
Here’s the breakdown from what we can discover so far:
- 7 of Brooklyn’s 20 Assembly Districts are represented by one or more District Leaders who have an employment connection to the Board of Elections, including
- A District Leader and their spouse who reside at the same address
- The son of a District Leader, who resides at the same address as the District Leader
- In one Assembly District, a colleague at the Board of Elections of one Female District Leader candidate filed objections against the petitions of the incumbent Male District Leader and her primary opponent. One must wonder, then, if this was done with the consent of party chairman Craig Eaton, since wouldn’t it be a no-no for a Board employee to challenge a District Leader that’s favored by the chairman?
- One of these districts also happens to be one of the districts where a Wilson Pakula is repeatedly given to the Democratic State Assembly Member to run on the Republican line. Could there be a deal that is arranged by the party chairman that is successfully executed through the appropriate influence he exercises on a District Leader’s full time job?
If the Republican Party is going to stand any chance of making progress anywhere in Brooklyn, but especially in the northern, middle and eastern portions of Brooklyn, the District Leadership, which also serves as the almost omnipotent Executive Committee of the party, must be free of any conflict of interest that will unethically affect their actions and votes. Likewise, they must also be wary of abusing their position and their influence in the election of county officers for pecuniary or personal gain.