Phony Campaign Mailer Advocating Gun Control Sent to 2nd Amendment Supporters in Niagara County

Illegal Mailing Pretends to Support Wojtaszek, McMurray

What is a dirty trick in politics and when do you know that one has crossed the line?

Negative campaigning is not a dirty trick.

One candidate openly telling voters about another candidate’s position, qualifications, misdeeds and so on in a most unflattering manner is not a dirty trick.

No, a dirty trick is about deception, often pushing the limit of campaign laws and often crossing that line into illegal activity.

Such a dirty trick may have been played here in Niagara County during the June Special Election for Congress and the primary for County Court judge.

Sources have told us complaints have been filed with multiple levels of government and investigations are currently underway.

Let’s first define the deception:

During the primary campaign, a mailer was sent to areas of the most pro-Second Amendment and gun rights communities in Niagara County from an organization that is decidedly in FAVOR of gun control.

This pro-gun control organization touted the gun control credentials of Congressional candidate Nate McMurray and judicial candidate Carole Wojtaszek. It mentioned how these two candidates won the group’s endorsement because they support a robust agenda to essentially take gun rights away and keep our kids safe.

This mailer, authored by Safe Schools Coalition, and sent to pro-gun rights voters, arrived in voters’ mailboxes on the day before the primary.

It read:

Dear Niagara County Parent:

Our children are our most precious resource. We listen to their tiny voices and hear the lion’s roar of their wisdom! They know that pervasive guns are the real problem in America today. If they could act, is there any doubt that our young people would take action to get guns out of our schools, off our streets, and out of the hands of extremists?

Our children don’t have the power to act, but WE do. We can make a positive change, and demand the government enact the Parents for Safe Schools commonsense gun reform agenda: uniform gun safety laws across all communities in New York State, mandatory background checks on gun owners, mandating guns be safely stored, locked and unloaded in homes, banning the sale of military style Assault Rifles like the AR-15, restricting the sale of dangerous “hollow-point” bullets, and outlawing high-capacity clips.

The mailer has Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other liberal Democrats listed on the left margin. It states that Parents for Safe Schools proudly endorses them.

[the mailer continues]

VOTER ALERT — URGENT VOTER ACTION NEEDED — VOTER ALERT

Before we can enact our commonsense gun contra! agenda, we need to elect the right people.

In Niagara County, as a registered voter you may vote in primary elections on Tuesday, June 23, 2020. Your gun reform vote is needed in the following contests:

US Congress 27th District NY AND Niagara County JUDGE

Parents for Safe Schools/SAFE SCHOOLS COALITION endorsed candidates are

U.S. Congress-27th District: NATE McMURRAY

Nate McMurray supports universal background checks and assault weapons ban.

Niagara County JUDGE: CAROLlNE WOJTASZEK

Caroline Wojtaszek has prosecuted multiple dangerous criminals under the New York SAFE Act commonsense gun law.

Please help make commonsense gun reform a reality throughout New York State. Please elect these champions of gun control, and let’s keep our schools safe for our kids!

The message is signed by Carl Enrique-Smith, Executive Director.

The mailer, mailed to gun owners and 2nd Amendment supporters, endorses US Rep. candidate Nate McMurray and Niagara County judicial candidate Caroline Wojtaszek. The Safe Schools endorsement [because of where it was sent] was meant to take votes away from the candidates while pretending to support and endorse them.

 

On the mailer are a list of individuals whose gun control “agendas” the Safe Schools Coalition “proudly endorses.”

They are all Democrats. Among the names are Nancy Pelosi, Charles Schumer, Michael Bloomberg, Bernie Sanders, Andrew Cuomo, California Gov. Gavin Newsome, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown and Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren.

In short, Democrats whose names would likely rile up Second Amendment supporters who received the mailer.

Think about it: A mailer with Nancy Pelosi and other well-known liberals’ names attached to a group that supports stringent gun control, sent to an audience that is against more gun control!

The endorsement of McMurray and Wojtaszek was meant to enrage voters against McMurray and Wojtaszek.

To that end, it seems to have worked.

Nate McMurray ran in a special election for the Congressional seat vacated by Chris Collins.

McMurray barely lost the Congressional Special Election to Chris Jacobs and Wojtaszek ended up in a nail-biter Republican primary that she was expected to win easily.

The mailer seems to have cost them both, especially McMurray.

Where is the dirty trick?

Well, let’s begin:

1)      The organization that sent the mailer does not exist
2)      The mailer lists two websites: gunfreeschoolzone.com was established just two days before the mailing was sent. The website has no content, just a number of links, most of them to Democrat-oriented websites. The second website on the mailer, parentsforsafeschools.us does not exist.
3)      The domain owner of the new website is not publicly viewable.
4)      The return address on the campaign mailer, 1971 Western Ave, Albany, the supposed address of Parents for Safe Schools, is actually the address of Work Fit Medical, an urgent care facility.
5)      The Executive Director of said organization (using an Hispanic name, possibly trying to further enrage a particular constituency, is a racist trope) is not found online. The fact that someone is not found online does not mean they do not exist. However, an individual who is an executive director of a nonprofit in Albany that endorses candidates should certainly have a linked-in page or some mention online. Carl Enrique-Smith does not.
6)     There is no “paid for” disclaimer on the mail as required by law.

Everything outlined above is problematic for whoever is behind it… but wait, there’s more.

The mailing permit [#862] used to process this mail matches that of another mailer, supposedly authored by Simeon Mokhiber.

The Mokhiber mailer, which went out a few weeks earlier, attacked Caroline Wojtaszek on the gun issue.

That mailer also lacked a “paid for” disclaimer.

The pro 2nd Amendment Mokhiber mailer envelope with postal permit 862

The anti 2nd Amendment Safe Schools Coalition mailer also used postal permit 862

The reason companies use postal permits is that they save money on postage by getting a bulk rate. Someone had to go to the post office to get postal permit 862 and fill out an application. Who was that?

Even with savings on postage, the cost of either mailer, the fake one endorsing Wojtaszek and McMurray, or the Mokhiber mailer attacking Wojtaszek, was likely in the thousands of dollars.

Simeon Mokhiber’s name was on a mailer criticizing Caroline Wojtaszek .

Who is Simeon Mokhiber?

While we don’t know if Mokhiber sent either mailer, we do know he was convicted of three felonies in 2017 of the state’s SAFE Act gun control law for having three loaded 17-round magazines for a Glock pistol in his car. He was granted a conditional discharge, according to the Buffalo News.

Mokhiber was indicted before Wojtaszek became DA, but her office prosecuted him. Wojtaszek said she offered Mokhiber a plea deal that would have resulted in a conditional discharge before his case came to trial.

When he refused, she said she instructed the prosecutor to make no effort to exclude Second Amendment supporters from the jury.

The Reporter called Mokhiber but got a voicemail message indicating his inbox was full.

Mokhiber didn’t respond to calls from The Buffalo News either, when they called to ask him about the previous mailer attacking Wojtaszek supposedly authored by him and why it did not say who paid for it, as required by law.

Three Mailers, One of Them Fake

After the Mokhiber mailer was sent, another mailer followed, also accusing Wojtaszek of being anti-gun rights.

This mailer was signed by former State Senator George Maziarz, who is in a bitter feud with Caroline’s husband, Henry Wojtaszek, his former ally, who is now president of the Western Region of OTB.

After that, came the fake mailer from the fake nonprofit endorsing Wojtaszek and McMurray.

There is ample evidence that Caroline Wojtaszek is pro-2nd Amendment, but that didn’t stop the authors of three mailers claiming she is anti-2nd Amendment.

So let’s recap:

Three mailers went out in June to the same Republican and conservative voters.

Mailer one — Simeon Mokhiber mailer saying Wojtaszek is anti-gun rights and to vote against her.

Mailer two – George Maziarz mailer saying Wojtaszek is anti-gun rights and to vote against her

Mailer three – Safe Schools mailer saying Wojtaszek and McMurray are anti-gun rights and vote FOR HER AND HIM.

Who Paid for the Fake Mailer?

Perhaps you’re thinking, wouldn’t it make sense that one of the political parties is behind this mailer?

The short answer is no. The fact that McMurray and Wojtaszek were both named on the deceptive mailer eliminates both political parties as likely suspects.

McMurray was the endorsed candidate of the Democrat Party in the Special Election, so they wouldn’t want to hurt him.  And Wojtaszek was the endorsed Republican candidate, so they wouldn’t want to hurt her.

So who has the motive to spend thousands of dollars on a phony mailer. Obviously, that person must want to see McMurray and Wojtaszek defeated.

Suspicion for the phony mailer naturally fell on the two who authored the previous attack mailers on the same subject– Mokhiber and Maziarz.

The Mokhiber mailer has the same postal permit as the fake mailer and he was previously prosecuted by Wojtaszek.

Maziarz has ample money and is in a bitter feud with Wojtaszek’s husband. The former State Senator has about $500,000 in his campaign account and has already invested in the negative campaign against Wojtaszek when he sent a mailer attacking her using his own name.

In addition, he might have a grudge against McMurray, who previously attacked Maziarz on his Facebook campaign page, calling Maziarz a “corrupt mob boss like leader in the GOP party in Niagara County. Look it up. The man was like a minor figure in a Scorcese [sic] flick.”

Militating against Maziarz’ involvement in this phony mailer is the fact that he has already been convicted twice in his career of campaign violations.  Would he be so reckless as to do it again? And this is far more brazen.

This time, the trouble might be with a capital T.

Readers are strongly advised not to jump to hasty conclusions as to who might be behind this. Law enforcement is equipped to handle the investigation.

Illegal?

The phony mailer impacted a Congressional Race with illegal dark money. [“Dark money” refers to campaign money whose sources are not disclosed]. That is properly investigated by the Federal Elections Commission and the FBI.

The dummy return address was used to get a cheaper postage rate, which is defrauding the Post Office. That brings it within the jurisdiction of U.S. Postal Inspectors.

The lack of disclosure on a mailer involving a local candidate, Wojtaszek, brings in the District Attorney, the state Board of Elections, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics (JCOPE) and the Attorney General.

Like so many dirty tricksters of the past, whoever did this was stupid.

With subpoenas in hand, it would take all of five minutes to serve the mailing company whose permit was used to find out who paid for the mailer; subpoena Go Daddy for who paid to set up the website and subpoena Mokhiber to find out if he did the mailing.

There has been a lot of effort in the last few years to end this type of corrupt political behavior. The fact that someone in Niagara County may have impacted a Congressional race and nearly a judge’s race through deception should concern people of all political persuasions, regardless of one’s position on the 2nd Amendment.

At the end of the day someone violated the law in sending out a phony, lying campaign mailer meant to trick voters.

The one who paid for it may wind up in serious legal trouble. Two men in Michigan face four felony charges for something similar.

Stay tuned.

 

 


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