It seems that since candidates can’t canvas neighborhoods to try and secure your vote, they’re going to send out five million mailers instead. Honestly, I’ve gotten so many I’m amazed the Amazon rain forest is still there, for crying out loud.
However, in Upstate New York, a mailer came in that was more than a little fishy.
Now, it’s being investigated.
This past June, in the Special Election for the 27th Congressional District and in the Primary Election for Niagara County Court Judge, one of the most egregious campaign violations we have seen took place.
An organization that called itself the Coalition for Safe Schools sent a letter to residents across Niagara County advocating for very stringent gun control, while endorsing Nate McMurray and Caroline Wojtaszek.
McMurray was the endorsed Democrat candidate for Congress and Wojtaszek was the endorsed Republican for judge.
The mailer arrived in mailboxes of voters who are likely to support the Second Amendment the day before the election. That’s right – a gun control group mailing endorsements of candidates to gun rights’ voters.
As the Reporter discovered, the organization, Coalition of Safe Schools doesn’t exist. The Executive Director of the group is fictional. The return address is nonexistent. The organization’s website was created two days before the mailer was sent, and no longer exists. The mailer did not identify who paid for it, a violation of law.
Most problematic, the mailer was sent to voters who would be opposed to gun control.
In other words, it was an effort to sabotage specific candidates with a specific group of people.
However, it was a gun rights advocate who spotted the questionable nature of the mailer.
The Reporter was able to obtain the original complaint filed with the DA’s office.
It is signed by Edward D. Pettitt, a pro second amendment advocate, who suspected the mailer was a phony.
Petit’s complaint reads, “On Monday June 22, 2020 I received a letter in the mail purportedly from Carl Enrique-Smith, Executive Director of ‘Parents For Safe Schools.’ The purpose of the letter was to state that this pro-gun control group endorsed Caroline Wojtaszek for Niagara County Judge because she ‘has prosecuted multiple dangerous criminals under the New York SAFE Act commonsense gun law.
The problem was, Mr. Pettitt or Petit (the spelling discrepancy is in the original piece) is a gun rights activist and had never heard of the organization. He opted to do some digging. What he found was the group simply didn’t exist.
Now, I’m not sure what charges could be filed on a case like this. Then again, I’m not an attorney.
What I do know, though, is that this is a major case of wrong. A mailer by a fake organization sent specifically to those who would oppose the supposed organization’s mission isn’t routine campaigning. It’s an attempt to sink a candidate by underhanded means.
Frankly, it sounds like someone who was anti-gun was trying to sabotaging the campaigns of those they figured would work against their efforts. Then again, it’s also possible that it was someone who opposed these candidates on completely different issues.
Either way, it’s shady as hell.
This is something you need to look out for. There are those who would try to present people as “anti-gun” for a number of reasons. There are some who claim to be gun rights advocates that completely mischaracterize anything to frame people as being anti-gun for simply having insufficient zeal for pro-gun legislation.
Look, no matter what anyone tells you about a candidate, look for yourself.