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A New York State District Attorney is reportedly investigating allegations of voter fraud surrounding the nomination of Republican nominee for governor Rep. Lee Zeldin and Democratic Gov. Kathy Hochul.
The Times Union first reported Sunday that Albany County Attorneys and the New York State Board of Elections are moving forward with an investigation into thousands of duplicate signatures submitted during the nomination process to bring Zeldin to the Independence Party line.
According to the report, “Investigators initially had suspicions that the roughly 11,000 duplicate signatures photocopied at Republican Party headquarters in Albany were inserted into the petitions because of a clerical error. However, investigators are now examining whether there are possible criminal charges because it appears the duplicate signatures were deliberately mixed into the petitions, a source with knowledge of the investigation said.”
Zeldin himself was not involved in submitting the signatures, according to the newspaper. This was handled by John F. Haggerty, Jr., who holds a leadership role for the New York State Republican Party.
Nonetheless, Hochul’s campaign picked up on the report.
GOVERNMENT OF NEW YORK. HOCHUL UNDER FIRE FOR COVID TEST DEMOCRATIC DONOR DEAL WEEK BEFORE ABSENTE VOTES ARE SENT
Haggerty was sentenced to nearly four years in prison in 2011 after he stole $750,000 from former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg during his 2009 re-election campaign for larceny and money laundering, according to a New York Times report at the time.
The Hochul campaign issued comments on Sunday noting that Times Union reporting revealed that “the Albany County District Attorney’s office and the State Board of Elections are proceeding with a criminal investigation into fraudulent petitions filed by Lee Zeldin’s campaign have been submitted”.
Hochul campaign manager Brian Lenzmeier added in a statement Sunday: “After months of no responses and blame, New Yorkers deserve to know who exactly was implicated in the Xerox Zeldin voter fraud scandal. The facts here are clear: Zeldin’s campaign manager knowingly signed 47 volumes of petitions containing more than 11,000 photocopied signatures.”
“As a congressman, Lee Zeldin supported legal efforts to overturn the 2020 election and promoted unsubstantiated conspiracy theories under the banner of ‘election integrity,’ but apparently that doesn’t apply to his own campaign,” Lenzmeier claimed. “His campaign is now embroiled in a criminal investigation for attempting to defraud voters and Zeldin must be held accountable.”
In August, a spokeswoman for the New York Board of Elections confirmed to Fox News Digital that of the signatures submitted for Zeldin to run on the Independence Party line — in addition to the GOP ticket — only 39,228 were validated, which is among the required 45,000 lay . Nearly 13,000 others were deemed invalid for a range of reasons, including duplicate signatures, improperly registered voters or incorrect addresses, she said. She did not comment on whether photocopied signatures were found.
News of the investigation comes around the same time the Times Union reported on an alleged pay-to-play COVID-19 testing contract for one of Hochul’s political donors. According to the report, Hochul’s campaign received $300,000 from a donor whose company Digital Gadgets later won a $600 million contract to supply New York State with rapid tests. California paid 45% less for rapid COVID-19 testing by buying directly from the same New Jersey-based provider, AccessBio.
A spokeswoman for Zeldin denied the claims in a statement to Fox News Digital on Monday.
“Here are the deeply uncomfortable facts that haven’t changed and won’t change no matter how hard Kathy Hochul tries to distract from her massive pay-to-play scandals: The Zeldin campaign had no knowledge of photocopying and the Zeldin Campaign made no photocopies,” said Katie Vincentz. “Kathy Hochul’s pay-to-play with Digital Gadgets is one of many corruption scandals that must be investigated. The family that owns Digital Gadgets gave Hochul $300,000 in campaign funds. After signing unilaterally self-claimed COVID emergency powers where they were suspended after state bid laws, Kathy Hochul inked a $600 million no-bid deal with Digital Gadgets to offer double-priced COVID testing to Digital Gadgets not even made.
The statement continued, “Digital Gadgets was just an unnecessary, wasteful middleman that Hochul paid for, massively ripping off New York taxpayers in the process. There’s an election coming up on November 8th, so they’re eagerly looking the other way. Give me a break!”
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According to the report, New York could have saved $286 million if it had paid the same price.
In an appearance on Fox News on Sunday, Zeldin appealed to Democratic voters in the decidedly blue electorate to help him “save this state” and slammed Hochul for proposing he move to Florida after winning the Republican accused of being a pro-Trump extremist unfit to govern New York.
EDITOR’S NOTE: This report has been updated to clarify the reported investigation into allegations of fraud.