WATERTOWN — After a mistaken financial filing at the beginning of the month, Republican Assemblyman Mark C. Walczyk’s campaign has updated its figures to show he’s actually far outraised his Democratic opponent Alex V. Hammond over the past few months.
Mr. Walczyk’s campaign manager Michael Schenk said the inaccuracies in the initial reports submitted to the state Board of Elections were the result of their campaign treasurer missing a folder of invoices and receipts. Mr. Schenk said the campaign worked alongside its treasurer to ensure the online filings were updated as quickly as possible after they realized the mistake. The initial documents from Mr. Walczyk’s campaign showed he raised $20,372 in the last reporting period — July to September. On the week of Oct. 12, Mr. Walczyk’s campaign submitted its updated filings to the state Board of Elections. The updated disclosures show Mr. Walczyk raised $44,907.10 from all sources.
“We are so incredibly honored at the widespread support the campaign has received from across the district this year,” Mr. Schenk said.
Mr. Hammond’s campaign raised $26,038 from all sources over the last reporting period. In a prepared statement, Mr. Hammond congratulated Mr. Walczyk and his campaign for outraising them, but admonished them for their initial mistakes.
“The important thing to remember is a main reason why we do these filings,” Mr. Hammond said. “It is so that we can show that we as candidates are fiscally responsible and transparent with our campaign funds. It’s a smell test for voters to determine whether we have the aptitude to be responsible with taxpayer money. I’m disappointed that in the first filing, my opponent failed to show approximately $20,000 in donations. A self-proclaimed ‘watchdog’ should show the same fiscal responsibility and transparency in his own campaign.”
Mr. Hammond added he hopes the proper authorities have investigated the filing mistakes and found no foul play.
Much of the money Mr. Walczyk’s campaign added was from individual donations. The initial filing showed $19,942 in individual donations, but now his campaign reports $30,999.59 in individual donations, an increase of $11,057.
The Times submitted a Freedom of Information Law request to the state Board of Elections to receive copies of the initial, incomplete filing Mr. Walczyk’s campaign submitted. Despite the requirement that the state respond to a FOIL request within five days, the state BOE did not provide the requested documents, nor did officials offer a reason for why they were not providing the documents within the allotted time frame. Repeated calls to the state BOE were not returned.
Mr. Walczyk’s campaign did not provide their copies of their initial filing documents by press time Tuesday night. This reporting is based on the initial reporting completed Oct. 6, and the updated financial documents available from the state BOE website.
The updated filings show a much different story than the initial documents. Where it once looked as if Mr. Walczyk was being outraised by $5,666, he actually outraised his opponent by $18,869.
Mr. Walczyk’s campaign also made more than initially reported in union, local business and Political Action Committee donations. His initial reports showed he made only $930 from unions and PACs, but the update shows he actually made $3,890, an additional $2,960.
Mr. Walczyk took in $1,000 from New York State United Teachers, the state public school teachers union, and $1,160 from the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local -73 in Oswego. Realtors PAC of New York State donated $500 dollars to the campaign on behalf of Jefferson-Lewis Realtors, and the National Federation of Independent Businesses PAC for New York State donated $250.
From Elmira, Chemung County, United NY Ambulance donated $464 to his campaign. In the north country, GYMO Architecture, Watertown, donated $100, and DGM Coon & Company, Watertown, donated $250. PJ’s Riverboat Cafe, Clayton, donated $116, and Tanner Properties, Theresa, donated $50.
Mr. Walczyk’s campaign also brought in $2,946 from local Republican committees and other Republican candidates for office. The campaign initially reported bringing in only $630 from the Jefferson County Republican Committee and the Massena Republican Committee, missing four large donations. Mr. Walczyk’s initial filing left out another $1,000 donation from the Jefferson County Republican Committee, $1,000 from Rep. Elise M. Stefanik’s campaign for Congress, $100 from Assemblyman Ed Ra’s re-election campaign, $116 from Assemblyman Phil Palmesano’s re-election campaign and $100 from state Sen. Elizabeth “Betty” Little’s campaign, which is being wound down as she’s not running for re-election.
Mr. Hammond still outraised Mr. Walczyk in union and party committee donations, bringing in $12,000 from those sources in the last reporting period.
Mr. Walczyk’s campaign initially reported four corporate donations for a total of about $500, but the updated filings show he brought in $1,598 from local corporate donors. The initial filings missed a $500 donation from Dewitt-based Empire Management of CNY, $250 from the Albany offices of the national law firm Greenbert Traurig, $100 from Watertown Concrete and $250 from Marsmith Inc.
Mr. Walczyk’s campaign also updated its spending numbers. Where initially he reported spending $15,655, the updated filings show the campaign actually spent $18,716. While it’s unclear which additional expenses were added to the new disclosures, the campaign did amend one expense. Where they initially indicated they paid the online news aggregator Newzjunky $3,300 for petitioning expenses, the updated filings show Mr. Walczyk actually paid the company for advertising expenses.
While Mr. Walczyk’s campaign initially reported he spent $5,473 of his own money on the campaign, that did not paint the full picture of his personal investment in his campaign. On July 30, Mr. Walczyk donated $3,000 by check to his own campaign. Additionally, where he initially reported spending $1,642 on mugs, the updated filings indicate that expense was for branded can koozies.
Mr. Walczyk ended the month of September with $34,529 in his campaign accounts, slightly more than the $32,442 he had at the same time in 2018 during his race to unseat 10-year incumbent Democrat Addie A.E. Jenne.