Sarah Barr, treasurer for the obscure New Movement Party, who is also deputy treasurer and has signed recent campaign filings on behalf of State Senator Dennis Bradley’s reelection campaign has coordinated a hit piece with a Political Action Committee against Democratic primary rival Herron Gaston that could constitute violation of state law for an illegal expenditure.
The coordinated effort involves the East End PAC controlled by East End District Leader Ralph Ford, a Bradley backer, who leverages the committee to benefit candidates he supports. In this situation, as well, Bradley’s deputy treasurer is wiring an intended benefit to him from a party committee for which she serves as treasurer.
Lawyers familiar with state campaign finance law say it’s likely an illegal coordination of funds.
The cost of the combined in-kind contributions from the East End PAC and New Movement Party is $4,730, according to Bradley’s campaign finance report. In addition, Ford received a $1,000 payment for canvassing on behalf of the Bradley campaign.
State law summary on independent expenditures.
An “independent expenditure” is an expenditure that is made without the consent, coordination, or consultation of a (1) candidate or candidate’s agent, (2) candidate committee, (3) political committee (known as a PAC), or (4) party committee.
The attack piece mailed widely to Democratic voters in advance of Tuesday’s primary exploits a false sexual assault accusation against Gaston that was dismissed by a Florida court more than a decade ago while he was a student at Yale University. Gaston chronicled the false arrest in a book The Darkest Night about the horrors of navigating the judicial process.
Surrogates for Bradley had engaged in a whisper campaign about the situation, conveniently leaving out he was falsely accused and the case dismissed by a state court. It never went to trial.
Philosopher Cornell West speaks on behalf of Herron Gaston
Now with Bradley fighting for his political life, and more saliently his liberty awaiting federal trial on campaign finance corruption charges, surrogates are trying to create doubt about Gaston in the final days leading to Tuesday’s Democratic primary.
This mail piece goes to the deeper question: why in the world, consideration Bradley’s federal issues, would Bradley, his deputy treasurer and surrogates create this situation?
The attack mailer that included the required disclaimer of the funding source, “New Movement Party, Sarah Barr treasurer,” was stuffed inside an envelope of the East End PAC.
It’s also another example of Bradley flouting campaign finance laws that got him in trouble in the first place. Bradley will deny knowing about it, or rationalize there’s no harm, no foul here. His deputy treasurer certainly knew.
Why go there?