Schenectady County

Schenectady County Dems accused of taking illegal donation

The chairman of the Schenectady County Republican Committee is accusing county Democrats of taking a

The chairman of the Schenectady County Republican Committee is accusing county Democrats of taking an illegal $5,000 contribution last year from a Canadian Internet pharmacy.

Tom Buchanan said he plans to ask the U.S. Attorney General’s Office and the Federal Elections Commission to launch an independent investigation into the contribution by CanaRx Services Inc., a company based in Tecumseh, Ontario.

The county works with CanaRx as part of the international discount prescription drug program it launched in 2004 for county employees. CanaRx helps the county obtain long-term prescription drugs cheaply through Canada, Australia and Great Britain.

Buchanan said the contribution, which is listed in the Schenectady County Democratic Committee’s 11-day pre-general election filing with the state Board of Elections, violates the federal McCain-Feingold Law.

The 2002 law expressly prohibits foreign nationals from making a contribution or donation to a political committee of a political party.

“They are in such a hurry to try and raise as much campaign cash as quickly as possible that they accepted an illegal $5,000 donation from a foreign national,” Buchanan said. “They are behaving like pigs at a trough, only this time their snouts got stuck.”

County Democratic Chairman Brian Quail said he believes the accusation simply involves a clerical error and that the donation was legally made by an American company.

“There may have been some mistake in reporting the address of the entity,” Quail said. “If there was a mistake [in accepting the donation], we will certainly make a refund.”

Though the Ontario address is listed on the campaign finance report, CanaRx lists a Detroit post office box as its address on its Web site,

Quail said he found it ironic that Buchanan was complaining about the Democratic committee’s campaign finances. In fact, he said, the GOP committee may be itself violating the law by not filing its finance reports in a timely manner. The Republican committee has yet to file a report due at the end of January, he pointed out, while its two pre-Election Day reports were not filed until after Election Day.

“What they’re engaging in is a pattern of flouting campaign disclosure,” Quail said.

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