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Now they tell us: ads for Montgomery proclaiming independence from "special interests" come from (not disclosed) special interest (NYSUT)

Like other residents of the 18th Senatorial District, I got several slick mailings with the same "Velmanette Montgomery" logo but no returning mailing address, just a tiny, unreadable logo.

And Montgomery's campaign said they didn't know who was responsible.

That's unacceptable. Either they were lying or should know. (It's shades of BUILD's James Caldwell, in 2005, claiming he didn't know who was paying for the group's public relations.)

The day after Montgomery cruised to a more than 4-to-1 margin--thanks, in part to a 10-to 1 advantage in volunteers, many from unions--I got a message from Montgomery staffer Jim Vogel.

"Senator Montgomery’s campaign finally discovered who sent out the mailer you were wondering about," he wrote. "Yesterday afternoon we had a visit from the local head of the New York State United Teachers (NYSUT) who told Senator Montgomery they did the mailing. She really had no idea before then."

It's a logical contribution, given that Montgomery was opposed by Mark Pollard, funded by charter school supporters, but it wasn't a transparent one.

(And I'm now assuming that the campaign call I thought was funded by Pollard's campaign came from the teachers.)

Special interests

So, take a look at this NYSUT-paid mailer, which urges us to "Vote for a Higher Standard" and asserts that Montgomery takes on "special interests."

As it happens, she has done some admirable work (and I voted for her), but some special interests are more special than others.

The teachers and AY

There's no little irony in Montgomery not only getting support from the teachers, but having them produce a somewhat deceptive campaign mailer about her opposition to Atlantic Yards.

After all, they're not on the same page regarding the project.

In August 2006, there was United Federation of Teachers President Randi Weingarten at a pro-project rally, declaring confidently that “the advantages outweigh the risks,” citing the importance of affordable housing to schoolteachers who want to live near the communities where they work.

Last-minute money

The teachers did not make it easy to find out about their support for Montgomery. In neither the 11-day pre-primary report nor the 32-day pre-primary report of Voice Of Teachers in Education, the Committee On Political Education (VOTE-COPE) were contributions to Montgomery mentioned.

According to the list of 24-hour filing notices, on September 9 she did get $8,250 from VOTE/COPE, though this is presumably separate from the mailings.

Among other last-minute contributions, on September 2, she got $2000 from C&C, LLC PAC ACCOUNT, which is apparently the lobbying firm Cordo & Co.

On September 3, she got $6000 from Senate Conference President John Sampson's campaign committee.

On September 9, she got $1500 from the District Council 37 Political Action Committee.


  1. Let's be extremely clear: the Montgomery campaign had absolutely NO KNOWLEDGE about either the mailers or the telephone calls. We were never "lying" and deeply resent that statement. Statements like that are unacceptable and libelous. They have no place in journalism or editorial writing. It is amateur beyond belief. You should apologize immediately.

  2. I didn't say you were lying. I said there were two possible answers regarding the mailers.

  3. So you're saying "we should have known."
    There is no way we could have known.
    The materials were independently composed, printed and mailed. We were not notified. I can't understand how you think we could possibly have known. And as you pointed out, we fully disclosed all campaign contributions as required by law. Everything we knew we disclosed.

  4. Yes, I'm going to stand by that. I recognize you weren't notified. There are a limited number of potential supporters who'd work that hard (and who could've been asked).

  5. I read this as an indictment of the system, which permits groups to conceal their identities.

    Given that Pollard was more or less a single-issue candidate, it's not surprising that NYSUT was behind the effort. But why should or would they hide their identity?


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