Illuzzi, Hoffer get into tiff over Senate campaign money

Doug Hoffer, the Democratic candidate for state auditor, accused his opponent, Sen. Vincent Illuzzi, on Tuesday of failing to account for more than $17,000 that was carried over from his Senate Campaign’s July 2011 filing.

Illuzzi’s July 2011 campaign finance report stated a “carry-forward” or leftover fund balance of $30,923 from his Senate campaign. Additionally, Illuzzi’s filing last week disclosed a $13,105 donation from his Senate campaign.

From there, Hoffer does the math: “It is characterized as ‘surplus’ which suggests that it is all that remains from that account.  Since there has been no election for Senator Illuzzi since July 2011, there remains a question about what happened to the other $17,818 from his Senate campaign account.  Mr. Illuzzi did not file a finance report for his Senate campaign.”

All of the facts Hoffer laid out are correct, except his last sentence. Illuzzi didn’t file a finance report for his Senate campaign in the Secretary of State’s office; he filed it with the Orleans County Clerk, as Senate Campaigns are required to do under statute.

Illuzzi says his final campaign finance report from “Vincent Illuzzi for Senate,” is en route via mail to the Secretary of State’s office.

That report laid out, line by line, where the $17,000 in expenditures went. Illuzzi spent some campaign funds on political trips around the state and a large chunk of it – $10,000 – on a San Francisco consulting firm in April.

“There may well be a good explanation for the inconsistency but it is for Mr. Illuzzi to clear it up,” Hoffer said in his statement.

Illuzzi wasn’t happy with Hoffer’s release.

“For him to suggest that $17,000 was missing is borderline slander, and if he read the report, it’s clearly itemized,” he said.

Illuzzi said it was “disappointing” to see the campaign start out this way.

“I really think it’s an outrageous way to start a campaign. It really is. It shows desperation more than anything else,” he said.

Hoffer said he didn’t mean to imply any inappropriate behavior and he was simply asking a question. Illuzzi’s response, he said, “answers the question.”

Taylor Dobbs

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