Widely reported in district news media yesterday was the story that, according to the latest Siena Research Institute poll, Congressman Sweeney still held, as of mid-October, a substantial lead over challenger Kirsten Gillibrand. The new figure, based ostensibly on responses from a representative sample of likely district voters, put Mr Sweeney in the lead by 54% to 39%. That figure marked a gain since late August for Ms Gillibrand of 5 percentage points.
Media coverage of the
II. ETHICAL QUESTIONS
News about straw poll results came right on the heels of a story that in various guises was disseminated in over 120 newspapers and newscasts. The most common headline said “Sweeney Trip Raises Ethics Questions.” Immediately at issue was whether, following a trip in January 2001 to the
III. NEW ETHICAL QUESTION
Another matter of ethics has come to our attention. In Monday’s issue of Seeing Greene, we devoted attention to widely distributed letter from Mr Sweeney’s camp, appealing for active campaign support in the way of letters to newspapers and calls to talk-in broadcasters. We can now report that Mr Sweeney is augmenting this effort by urging supporters, or beneficiaries of his political largesse, to send letters that are drafted by his staff. And what’s most peculiar about the project is nature of the suggested letters. Mr Sweeney does not ask for testimonials, in which the sender praises the Congressman for particular services rendered. Instead, he asks for attacks on the Democratic nominee. And he asks the addressees to pretend that they by personal investigation they have made discoveries that make Gillibrand look bad. Of that kind of request, one recipient told Seeing Greene, “To be asked for open recognition of benefits received is fair enough. But this kind of request is offensive. It’s outrageous.”