Investigation Into Phony Gun Control Mailer in Niagara County Appears to Heat Up

Please click the link below to subscribe to a FREE PDF version of each print edition of the Niagara Reporter

http://eepurl.com/dnsYM9

 

 

By: Staff Reporter

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.

 

Congressional candidate Nate McMurray.

 

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.

The fraudulent mailer was sent to enrage and deceive them into voting against McMurray and Wojtaszek, while pretending to endorse them.

A complaint has been filed with the Niagara County District Attorney, Wojtaszek who is actually the victim of the deceptive mailer.

She is not investigating, of course, since she was the victim, and it appears to have been referred to another investigative agency.

The crimes committed fall under at least two agencies’ jurisdiction: the State Police, and the FBI.

Asked for comment on the criminal investigation, Wojtaszek said, “Beyond acknowledging receipt of a complaint regarding potentially fraudulent political activity, I cannot comment on any potential investigation.”

 

Current District Attorney and candidate for County Court Judge Caroline Wojtaszek.

 

Though the mailer was directed at two Democrats, and likely cost them votes, the Niagara County Chairman of the Republican party, Richard L. Andres Jr., is calling for a thorough investigation by law enforcement and to charge the perpetrator for any crimes they committed.

Andres said, “I recognize that politics and campaigns can be rough and tumble, and frankly, I do not have a problem with that so long as it is done within the boundaries of all state and federal laws. That includes full disclosure of who is paying for campaign advertising.

“Anonymous mailers, phone calls and other deceptive advertisements funded by unknown dark money is not only unethical, it’s illegal. Given the audacity of the scheme we saw in June and its breathtaking level of deceit, I am asking for local, state, and federal authorities to investigate this matter. With subpoena power, they can quickly discover the perpetrators behind this and bring them to justice. Election fraud is a violation of the public trust and cannot be tolerated.”

The party chairman for the Democrats John Jacoby also agreed telling the Reporter that he thought the mailer was “vile.”

Jacoby said if there was a potential violation of law, there should be a full investigation.

The Reporter learned that the fraudulent mailer did not identify, as it must by law, the group or individual who paid for the mailing, but that the postal stamp of Mr. Copy on Delaware Ave. in Buffalo was used.

Law enforcement may already have issued a subpoena to Mr. Copy to determine who paid them for the postal costs for mailing the fraudulent mailer.

As part of their business Mr. Copy provides services such as printing and mailing campaign material. While no one is suggesting Mr. Copy was complicit in the deception of voters, they should be able to provide authorities the identity of the individual[s] who paid for it.

 

Full letter / mailer that was sent to Niagara County residents.

 

At least two sources familiar with the investigation told the Reporter that law enforcement has identified two possible suspects, the individual who authored the phony mailer and the individual who funneled dark money to pay for it.

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.

“Being very active in the pro-2A advocacy cause as President of Second Amendment for EVER, Inc. (SAfE) in Niagara County, I had never heard of this gun control advocacy group and became suspicious of the letter. I began to investigate the validity of the letter as follows:

“1.. I contacted candidate for Niagara County Judge Caroline Wojtaszek who stated she had never heard of the group and never sought the endorsement of any pro-gun control group.

2.. I looked up the gunfreeschoolzone.com website listed in the letter and found it to be a front page only with no content.

3.. I performed an internet search on Carl Enriquez-Smith in conjunction with Parents for Safe Schools and Safe Schools Coalition and could not find any indication such a person exists.

4.. I performed a corporation search on the New York State Department of State website for Parents for Safe Schools and could find no such corporation.

5.. I used Google Maps to identify the location of 1971 Western Ave. #520 Albany, NY 12203 and it appears to be a UPS store.

5.. I visited the US Post Office in Newfane, NY and Lockport, NY to request a trace on the US Postage Permit # 862 to identify the source of the letter but was refused such service.

“I now believe this mailer is a fraudulent creation intended to manipulate pro-2A voters into not voting for Candidate Wojtaszek under false pretenses and timed for delivery to prevent any chance of correction. Such tactics attacks the integrity of the gun vote base which is my primary concern. And as President of a 501-c4 organization, I am concerned that an organization is using fraudulent methods to hurt our cause which is to educate and engage responsible gun owners so they can make the best election choices to protect their 2A rights. I would like to now lodge a complaint and request an investigation if warranted to address this mailer.”

It is not clear what charges will be lodged. But oftentimes defendants are allowed to plea down the charges.

 

Former State Senator George Maziarz.

 

A few years ago, former state senator, George Maziarz was charged with five felony counts of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree. All of the charges were Class E felonies and carried a maximum sentence of one and one-third to four years on each count.

According to the indictment and court papers filed at the time, Maziarz is alleged to have orchestrated an illegal, multilayered pass-through scheme that enabled him to use money from his own campaign committee, The Committee to Elect Maziarz State Senate, to funnel secret campaign payments to a former staffer.

Facing years in prison, Maziarz accepted a misdemeanor plea deal that spared him jail time. He paid a $1000 fine.

The push to investigate this particular “vile” mailer is ongoing.

Expect the people behind this to be found out very soon.

 


Leave a Reply

FOLLOW US ON FACEBOOK

https://www.facebook.com/NiagaraReporter/
 
Scroll Up.wpzoom (color:black;}