|Grains of Salt|
For some time now, going back at least to July, Mahoney has been hiding the identity of the person or people her campaign paid almost $60,000 over the past year, even though Mahoney last ran for office in 2015 and is not up for re-election again until 2019.
Now, when I say hiding, I mean that on her campaign finance disclosure statements, Paychex is listed as the payee. For those who may not be aware, Paychex handles payroll processing for businesses and, apparently, campaign committees. But in the case of Mahoney's filings, they are not the payee, they are merely the pass-through.
Early on, Mahoney argued that her filings were OK, they were compliant, and of course they were ethical, because it wasn't "government money" being used. The State Board of Elections disagreed, as we were told by John Conklin (on behalf of the Board).
The point is, the thing that needs to be disclosed is who is ultimately receiving the payment, who the payee really is. The payroll processor is not the one who is really the payee. It's the employee who receives the wages, and that should ultimately be disclosed.Mahoney, a lawyer, would only say the money was for her campaign staff, pointing out that
I have people who continue to do work on behalf of the campaign. I have disclosed everything the way I am required to do.She further noted
We will discuss with the Board of Elections to ensure our filings continue to be compliant in the future. Our campaign committee has always taken pride in our timely and accurate disclosure filings.Moving ahead a few days, the Board was advised by Syracuse.com that Mahoney's campaign was not the only one - there were others too, from across the state - who were filing similar disclosure statements. An eye opener, it was for them -- because the people who review filings had never questioned it before. Here's our friend John Conklin again
There was not a consensus that it was a common enough deficiency to spend limited staff time on the issue.Later in August, the Board ordered Mahoney's campaign, and the others, to amend their filings to accurately reflect who was the actual end recipient of the wages paid by the campaigns.
Finally, we arrived at the outcome that was ordered back in August. Earlier this month, Mahoney released the name of the person who was being paid almost $60K to work on the campaign: Lesley B. Dublin. Dublin is the Director of Intergovernmental Affairs for Onondaga County - so while she's not an elected official, she works for county residents. In that capacity, she earns around $79K.
In her spare time - nights and weekends, we're assured - she earns $57K as she
organizes special events and fundraisers for Friends of Joanie Mahoney, and coordinates the campaign's charitable contributions.Mahoney pats herself on the back for paying one of our employees to be her campaign's employee:
Most elected officials expect their government employees to do campaign work for free and I have never done that. I have always believed that anyone, particularly county employees, who perform campaign responsibilities on their own time should be compensated by the campaign.I guess we have to give Mahoney credit for her generosity with campaign workers, even if we disapprove of her pretending that it was compliant, or ethical, to hide their names.