Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Can you spare some change?

Been in a drinking and driving accident? Need a lawyer? Well call the Clifton Park law offices of John E. Sweeney. He’s got the skills and the connections to litigate even the most egregious cases that come down the pike. And for crying out loud he needs the money.

The scorned Republican congressman from the 20th district reported in his April quarterly to the Federal Election Commission that his campaign has slipped a bit further down the slippery slide of debt than it had reported in December. Since the start of the 2007-2008 campaign filing year, Camp Kick Ass has fallen another $7,000 into debt, which really isn’t that bad until you consider the $199,000 tab the dejected U.S. representative never settled up last year.

Now, when folks jump in the hole to the tune of nearly a quarter-million bucks, that’s usually a sign for creditors to start sending happy little reminders in the mail. In more dubious circles, such a sum is usually enough to warrant a few broken fingers. But in the case of the Sweeney campaign, just four months after he was removed from office, it’s the green light to keep on spending, albeit at a not-so-feverish pace.

So far this year, Sweeney For Congress Inc. paid out more than $19,000. The cash went to fund everything from flowers in Albany to OnStar payments in Washington DC. But many of these are smaller expenditures. The larger ones totaling in the thousands seem to go to a fellow named Mike Burton, a member of the National Republican Congressional Committee, who received nearly $5,000 in January and $1,600 just last month for “political consulting.”

Amazingly, there are still folks giving to Sweeney’s campaign, even though there’s been no indication that he’ll be picked to challenge Kirsten Gillibrand, who incidentally has already amassed more than $660,000 in the plus column. More than likely, former GOP state party Chairman Sandy Treadwell will get the nod, especially given the legendary plummet in the polls Mr. Kickass took in October.

But all these details didn’t stop either Illinois Congressman Ray LaHood or Ohio Congressman Steve LaTourette from giving Sweeney $1,000 and $2,000 respectively this quarter. Who are these two fellows? Well, LaHood’s only real distinction is presiding over former President Bill Clinton’s impeachment hearing.

LaTourette, however, appears to be the Sweeney of the Midwest. Among accolades such as being deeply tied to the Abramhoff scandal, LaTourette also distinguished himself in 2003 by phoning his wife and telling her he was banging a lobbyist; the estranged wife later posted signs supporting his 2004 challenger outside their home.

Sweeney’s creditors include a few noteworthy names as well. For instance, he owes $2,000 to the bankrupt New York Racing Association for a fundraising event they evidently hosted. Aside from the ethical questions this poses –it’s doubtful NYRA would have let many other citizens to raise such a tab at the Saratoga Racecourse –the embattled organization could have used the cash, albeit a paltry amount in the grand scheme of things.

For instance, Sweeney hasn’t paid more than $17,000 to X-Press Info of Albany, or more than $20,000 to the Ballweather Consulting Group of Alexandria Va., for event catering expenses. Adirondack Studios in Argyle is owed more than $12,000 from the banished congressman, among a host of other consultants, photographers and attorneys who pitched in during the campaign.

True, when you’re dealing with millions upon millions of dollars, a few hundred thousand doesn’t seem like much. And when you’re dealing with a fellow as oily as Sweeney, chances are pretty good he’ll come up with some scheme to balance the checkbook.

Take for instance this pearl a reader recently mentioned. It appears as though Big John somehow managed to pocket some free Rensselaer County taxpayer money while working as the Stop DWI Director and going to law school in Western Massachusetts. For anyone with that sort of sordid sense of accounting, coming up with a quarter-million shouldn’t be too difficult.


Blogger Les Clutter said...

Is he a partner in the firm of Dewey, Screwem, and Howe?

5:57 PM  

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