NY-24: Arcuri Tied to Spitzer Prostitution Scandal

Former Fundraiser Under Federal Investigation

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ImageFreshman Rep. Michael Arcuri (D-N.Y.) paid $44,000 to a political consultant who is under federal investigation as part of the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal. The story first broke on a blog in Arcuri's hometown of Utica, N.Y., and is now leading the news in the Upstate New York city.

The woman, 31-year-old Kristian Stiles, began working for Spitzer in her mid-20s doing fundraising work for the disgraced former New York governor. Her connection to Arcuri dates to July 2007, when Arcuri's campaign began paying her $4,000 a month for fundraising work, according to campaign finance records. The timing is critical because it overlaps the period federal authorities were investigating Spitzer for his connection to a prostitution ring. Spitzer resigned on March 12.

Stiles relationship with Arcuri lasted until March 18, 2008, just two days after the New York Times reported that the federal authorities "had requested detailed documentation for thousands of dollars" in transactions between Stiles and Spitzer.

The Arcuri campaign is downplaying the connection, claiming in statement to WKTV: "In March, Arcuri did not have any opposition and it was determined by the campaign that a fundraising consultant in New York City was unnecessary."

A former campaign staffer with knowledge of New York City fundraisers told me they generally work on commission by event, not as consultants. "If you want a fundraiser, you go to the experts, not some 20-something woman," my source said. "Let's see her invoices. Let's see the events she arranged. Let's see the PAC contributions she brought in."

Several unanswered questions remain, most importantly what work Stiles did on behalf of Arcuri, and whether it was similar to the role she played for Spitzer. According to the March 16 article in the New York Times, Stiles relationship with Spitzer was quite unusual:

Campaign finance records show that Ms. Stiles, 31, was paid about $6,460 monthly for her consulting work on the Spitzer 2010 committee, and she was listed as having been reimbursed for nearly $22,000 in expenditures over the last year.

Ms. Stiles frequently made Mr. Spitzer’s travel arrangements and paid with her own credit card, according to a person with knowledge of the campaign’s operations. Ms. Stiles, who often accompanied Mr. Spitzer on trips to coordinate fund-raising events, was comfortable incurring hotel and other charges that would be reimbursed later, the person said.

Such an arrangement is unusual, said several people with considerable experience in the financial dealings of campaign committees, including one who had worked on a prior Spitzer campaign. They said fund-raising consultants usually insist that the campaign pay directly for flights, hotels and ballrooms because they do not want to be without that money while waiting for reimbursement or to get stuck with the bill.

Arcuri is facing a challenge from Republican Richard Hanna in November.

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NY-24: Arcuri Tied to Spitzer Prostitution Scandal 3 Comments (0 topical, 3 editorial, 0 hidden) Post a comment »

....ran a funny ad linking Arcuri to phone calls to a brothel or something?
Wonder if this is related.

The infamous phone sex ad was actually run by the National Republican Congressional Committee. As the author of the article that inspired it, I have criticized the NRCC for distorting the facts. Arcuri's taxpayer-covered expenses increase nearly 7,000% over a eight-year period. One example was the phone sex call.

This shows the importance of having at least a strong second tier opponent to each of these Democratic Congressmen. Although it is way too soon to know if this will bloom into a full fledged scandal, if the GOP had put forward a loon, or a nothing, with no money, instead of Richard Hanna, a millionaire businessman, then Arcuri would definitely be able to survive even a major scandal. Now, if it serious, he won't.

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