YORKTOWN, NY – For the second time since he launched his campaign, the Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee, founded by the League of Women Voters, ruled Senate candidate Robert Kesten had engaged in unfair campaign practices. Party nominations have not even been secured yet, but the Fair Campaign Practices Committee upheld three complaints that Kesten mislead voters and engaged in unfair campaign practices at a hearing on Thursday.
Martha Ruiz Jiménez, campaign spokesperson for Senator Murphy said, “Robert Kesten has already lost all credibility with voters and he isn’t even his party’s nominee yet. Most candidates wait until October for desperation to settle in but apparently Mr. Kesten is already there.”
The Fair Campaign Practices Committee found that Kesten lied about Senator Murphy accepting hedge fund contributions, opposing the closure of the carried interest tax loophole, and that he was involved with corruption charges. “The Fair Campaign Practices Committee saw through Robert Kesten’s absurd theories about Senator Murphy, just as voters will see through Kesten’s AlbanyCare plan which includes a $92 billion tax hike to pay for a full government takeover of our healthcare system, ” she added.
“Voters aren’t looking for immature antics, but solutions to their everyday problems,” Ruiz Jiménez said. “Senator Murphy will continue to work with Democrats and Republicans, like he has always done, to deliver for the people of the Hudson Valley.”
The ruling is the second time the nonpartisan Fair Campaign Practices Committee has reprimanded Kesten. In October of last year, the panel ruled Kesten engaged in an unfair campaign practice soon after he announced he was a candidate, well over a year prior to the election.
The full findings from both rulings are as follows:
The Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee met on April 5, 2018 to hear the complaints of incumbent Republican candidate Terrence Murphy against Democratic challenger, Robert Kesten, in the race for New York State Senate, District 40. Mr. Murphy was represented by Christopher Arnold. Mr. Kesten represented himself.
COMPLAINT #1: Senator Terrence Murphy complains that Robert Kesten made the false and misleading statement that “Senator Murphy took nearly $2.5 million in toxic campaign cash in hedge fund PAC money.”
The accusations made by Robert Kesten were not supported by facts. A candidate should make any data he/she presents in campaign literature (or other communications) as specific and detailed as possible. Claims must be accurate with regard to detail and context and clearly indicate the time-periods and the amounts involved, and the source of the information.
COMPLAINT #2: Senator Murphy complains that Robert Kesten made the false and misleading statement that “Senator Murphy…won’t close the carried interest tax loophole…”
There is no evidence that Senator Murphy is in opposition to the carried interest tax loophole.
A candidate is urged to exercise great care when characterizing his/her opponent’s positions. In the absence of a specifically publicly stated position on an issue, a candidate should avoid attributing a position on this issue to his/her opponent. In this case, a statement in support of a piece of the issue is insufficient to declare a stance.
COMPLAINT #3: Senator Murphy complains that Robert Kesten held a press event with signage that read “MURPHY = CORRUPTION.” He contends that this was an unfair campaign practice.
Mr. Kesten attended, but did not hold the press event where he was photographed near a sign that said “Murphy = Corruption.” This photo was posted on Mr. Kesten’s Facebook campaign page. There was no evidence presented which substantiated the corruption charge.
FCPC Guidelines state, “The candidate will neither engage nor be involved with false or misleading attacks upon the character of the opponent.”
October 16, 2017 Complaint:
The Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee accepted the complaint of the Lewisboro Republican Town Committee on behalf of Terrence Murphy, candidate for New York State Senate, District 40, against his challenger, Robert Kesten, alleging that Mr. Kesten notified the public of the complaint prior to a hearing, contrary to the guidelines of the Committee.
FINDING: UNFAIR. Mr. Kesten did notify the public of the complaint contrary to the guidelines of the Committee.