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For Immediate Release: September 6, 2011

Legislator Kate Browning Accused of Filing Deceptive Campaign Finance Reports

Suffolk County Legislator Kate Browning is accused of filing deceptive campaign finance reports for more than a year. It appears that her campaign knowingly padded her campaign finance reports to show $38,000 more on account than actually existed.

Browning's campaign finance reports show a $38,326.00 credit from the Long Island Power Authority (LIPA) in January 2010. The same item appeared on three more quarterly reports and was still on the report at the beginning of July, 2011. That filing showed Browning's campaign war chest was more than $70,000. In fact, Browning only had $32,000 on account.

Browning said the $38,000 discrepancy was a "mistake" and the result of "multiple entries" on her campaign report. She also blamed the "error" on a computer "glitch" and insisted that her campaign treasurer "was trying to correct the problem".

When questioned by a member of the Conservative Society for Action (CSA) on July 25th, Browning blamed the inaccuracy on a "computer glitch" and acknowledged that it was an ongoing problem. Within 24 hours of being questioned, however, Browning was able to "fix" the "glitch" and amend her campaign report thus ending a full year of misreporting.

"Why would a candidate allow a non-existent $38,000 item to remain on the books for more than a year," asked Stephen Flanagan, director of the Conservative Society for Action. "It appears Browning wanted to keep reporting this amount to discourage potential opponents. One of the first things a potential candidate considers is how much money his opponent has. Anyone thinking of making a run at Browning would have been discouraged by her apparently huge war chest."

The Conservative Society for Action examined other aspects of Browning's campaign funds and found a number of issues that appear illegal or at the very least inappropriate. Browning's campaign wrote five checks made out to "cash" that exceeded the legal maximums for such checks. Campaign finance law requires that checks made in excess of $50.00 be made to a specific individual or entity. Browning wrote a half dozen checks ranging from $80.00 to $600.00. The checks clearly are inappropriate.

Records also indicate that Browning received at least three illegal campaign contributions from non-profit organizations that are prohibited from making such contributions. Additionally, there are a number of checks make out to "Josh Slaughter" who serves as a legislative aid (paid by Suffolk County) and also as Browning's campaign manager. Election law precludes an individual from serving in both capacities at the same time.

"There are many questions that need to be answered," said Flanagan. "There seems to be a pattern of sloppy bookkeeping or outright disregard for election finance laws. I am hopeful that the authorities conduct a proper investigation into this conduct."

Flanagan would also like to know the details of a check made out to the "Working Families Party" and marked as "wages".

"I know she is an enrolled member of the WFP," Flanagan said, "but under what circumstances did she pay wages for WFP services? Was this a contribution to the Working Families Party or reimbursement for wages paid and if so, for what?"

Click below for a video of Browning answering questions posed by a CSA member on July 25, 2011. Note that less than two days later, Browning's financial statement had been amended and the LIPA "error" corrected.

Video of Browning answering questions about $38,000 from LIPA:

About CSA:

The Conservative Society for Action is a grassroots political action organization with 5000+ members, mostly on Long Island. The organization formed in October 2008 and has held hundreds of rallies and other events since then. CSA has lobbied all levels of government and has been instrumental in dozens of local, state and federal elections.

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CSA Founder Stephen Flanagan discusses "Effective Political Action."

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