FACT CHECK: Claims in NYS Dems' Attack on Astorino Misleading

(18 News) – In our continuing coverage of political ads, WETM takes a look at an ad running on our station from the New York State Democratic Committee against Republican Gubernatorial Candidate Rob Astorino.

The ad, which began airing Tuesday, says Rob Astorino “broke his word” about ending corruption in Westchester County. It highlights three things to try and support that claim.

The ad states, “[Astorino] shelled out millions in raises and promotions to politically connected workers, while laying off county workers.”

According to the article the ad quotes from “The Journal News”, the Westchester County staff was reduced by 588 positions in 2010, and just over 100 of those were laid off. There were 220 promotions that year, according to the article, far less than some years previous. The article also states those who were politically active were more likely for promotion because they were the most experienced.

Because the budget was not expanded for these promotions, along with the reason given for the promotions, we rate this claim misleading.

The ad states, “[Astorino] gave his mother-in-law’s boyfriend a $90,000 job in the Department of Public Safety.”

According to the Astorino campaign, the man referenced in the ad is someone Astorino knew from before the man was his mother-in-law’s boyfriend, and is someone that he trusts implicitly. The campaign went on to say that this person was extremely qualified for the position he was hired for.

Because of this, we rate this claim half true.

The ad states, “At the Board of Elections, [Astorino] gave a $51,000 pay raise to the wife of a close political ally.”

According to New York State Election Law, Section 3-300, appointing deputies to the Board of Elections is at the discretion of the commissioner of the Board, not the County Executive.

Because of this section, we rate this claim as false.

In addition, the Astorino campaign released a statement Thursday night saying, “It is ironic that Governor Cuomo is running ads that Rob Astorino is corrupt when Cuomo is under investigation by the U.S. Attorney for corruption himself.”

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