Broome County Democrats call for investigation on election emails

Courtesy of Broome County Republicans
April 22, 2014

Four Democrats in the Broome County Legislature are requesting an investigation into emails sent by Deputy Broome County Executive Bijoy Datta. 

Last week the Press and Sun Bulletin published e-mails sent by Bijoy Datta to public employees saying it was mandatory they help campaign for County Executive Debbie Preston.

County Democrats are calling for an investigation. Democrat Daniel Reynolds is the minority leader of the Broome County Legislature. 

“So we looked into it and we felt that it was clear that New York Election Law was violated, possibly Public Officers Law, and also our County Charter," says Reynolds.

Reynolds says Datta violated Section 17-158 of the state’s election law prohibiting a high level public official from affecting the political actions of other public workers.

“They’re not protected by a union or anything of the kind. They’re not protected by civil service, they are at will employees and they are pretty much told to do this political activity by their superiors," says Reynolds. "So that’s exactly the type of thing the state law is supposed to address.”

Datta said last week after the e-mails were published that while they were strongly worded, he doesn’t believe he broke any laws.

“In practice, none of the work was mandatory,” says Datta.

Reynolds and the other Democrats aren’t taking his word for it. They announced Tuesday plans to submit letters to the county ethics board, the state Board of Elections, and the state attorney general’s office requesting an investigation.

County District Attorney Gerald Mollen said Tuesday his office is reviewing the case.