CORNING — The two candidates for the 23rd Congressional District, Incumbent Tom Reed and second-time challenger Tracy Mitrano, are at odds over a an allegation by Reed that Mitrano illegally misused campaign contributions.
The campaign issued a statement that claims Mitrano is transferring funds from her campaign account directly to herself. According to the Federal Election Commission records, Mitrano paid herself $16,750 in “rent” payments since January 2019, Reed’s campaign said.
Federal Election Commission regulations prohibit campaigns from paying the mortgage, rent, or utilities for the personal residence of the candidate or the candidate’s family even if part of the residence is being used by the campaign.
Mitrano told WNYNewsNow that Reed is either ignorant of the facts, or intentionally lying.
“There’s no FEC report because no violation occurred. He’s manufacturing the notion of it,” Mitrano said. “He is either willfully ignop\rant of the facts or, as I suspect, attempting to rearrange the facts in ways that he can manufacture an allegation that is completely untrue and inaccurate.”
“You have to wonder if people know that when they contribute their hard earned money to Tracy’s campaign that they’re actually padding Tracy’s own pockets in violation of federal law. With spending decisions like these– the candidate profiting off of the campaign– it’s no wonder Tracy’s campaign is floundering,” said Matt Coker, spokesperson for the Reed campaign.
Among all recipients of Mitrano campaign expenditures, Mitrano has personally received the third most, nearly as much as the campaign has spent on ads and more than the salary of any of her current campaign staff, according to the campaign. What’s more, Federal Election Commission regulations prohibit candidates from paying themselves from political donations before April 2, 2020.
Mitrano said the property in question is in Ithaca and is currently used to store supplies, hold staff meetings and meet with area journalists. She said the property’s fair market range is between $3,000 and $5,000 a month, but the campaign is only paying $500 per month for use of the property.
“What Tom Reed is trying to allege is that that is also my personal residence, but those are not the facts,” Mitrano said. “I live in Pen Yan, New York, and I have for the last three years.”
“Tracy’s campaign reeks of self-interest and disregard for the law. Tracy’s supporters can’t trust her with their donations and voters can’t trust Tracy in congress,” continued Coker.
“This is a manufactured lie cause Tom Reed can’t run on his record, as an incumbent is expected to do,” she said. “If you throw spaghetti on the wall and you see what sticks.”
In a follow up press release,Mitrano’s campaign alleged financial misdeeds by Reed during his tenure in Congress.
“There is one––and only one––politician in this race with a record of financial violations, and that is Tom Reed. Mitrano has continued to run a transparent race focused on the issues that truly impact New York’s 23rd District,” the release stated.
“Over the course of his career in Washington, Reed has accepted millions in Corporate PAC and special interest funding, and used his campaign funds to wine and dine his donors. In a quick search of FEC filings, you can see Tom Reed has spent: Over $39,000 on tickets to sporting events; $28,568 on Christmas ornaments from the House Gift Shop and White House Historical Society; $12,324 at the Sonoma Wine Bar in Washington, D.C. and $11,413 for a 2019 donor retreat in Montana,” the campaign said.
“Reed’s claim about Tracy’s ‘rent’ expenditure being in violation of FEC rules is a weak and ridiculous smokescreen to try to inoculate his campaign from his own financial misdeeds,” said Mitrano campaign manager Paula Younger.
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