Channel 4 interviewed both Joe Illuzzi and Hoyt’s primary challenger Barbra Kavanaugh. Illuzzi explained that he was publishing emails between Hoyt and his mistresses because of Hoyt’s position on abortion and gay marriage, both of which Illuzzi vehemently opposes. Illuzzi also continues to pledge to print more emails until Hoyt quits the race, saying he’s holding Hoyt “accountable”. He says they were interns who were “under his authority” and that it was an “abuse of power”. Kavanaugh indicated that she was sorry this was all happening, and that she felt badly for Hoyt and his family.
According to the Buffalo News,
Two women believed to have been romantically linked to Assemblyman Sam Hoyt were adults and not interns when they were allegedly involved with the married legislator, according to records from the Assembly and the state comptroller’s office obtained by The Buffalo News.
Kavanaugh did not, as far as I could see, denounce or repudiate Illuzzi for what he was doing. Nor did she take down her ad on Illuzzi’s site. In spite of her plausible deniability, the whole thing has her political allies’ fingerprints all over it.
Sandy Beach’s show was dedicated to blogs yesterday, and I called in to set Sandy straight on his notion that bloggers operate with “no rules” and can write whatever they want. While certainly it would be difficult to go after a commenter on the Lefty Line, bloggers – the people who write posts – are as liable for defamation as any talk-show host or journalist. He repeatedly referred to what Illuzzi was/is doing to Hoyt as “blackmail”, and excoriated politicians for “sucking up” to Illuzzi, even expressing shock that Chris Collins would lunch with Joe.
For the record, in case you’re wondering, the ads for Tim Pazda, David Donohue, Scott Bylewski, Jon Powers, and Barack Obama are not there because they paid for them; they’re there because I’m going to vote for them. I have never written a post of any sort because someone paid me to do it. And if I ever did, it would be disclosed.
The whole lurid story even made its way to the pages of the New York Times. Today, Illuzzi is a bit on defense because the stories of his criminal past have popped up all over, in the Times article and on Beach’s show yesterday. People are attacking his credibility, which is all well and good, but beside the point since no one is disputing the truth of the affairs.
In my opinion, unless the women were interns at the time of their affair with Hoyt, there’s nothing to see here. If they were both adults, the affairs were consensual, and he had no power or authority over them, then it’s a personal matter between Hoyt and his family and shouldn’t be fodder for chatter. Hoyt’s political life should rise and fall based on his results in Albany, not on where he drops his pants. Certainly it’s a moral failing on his part, and some voters may decide that he is unelectable based on that, and I understand that, and that’s fair. I’m not saying the stories shouldn’t have been published. What I am saying is that we really don’t need to be treated to all the titillating details, and we really don’t need to see the actual emails. There’s a fine line between publishing newsworthy information and piling on.
Furthermore, I think Kavanaugh should have come out much more forcefully to her opponent’s defense. As I indicated, this information was undoubtedly released by Hoyt’s biggest foes, and it was done to fatally injure him as a candidate, all to Kavanaugh’s benefit. If she sincerely feels so sad about what’s been done to Hoyt and his family, she should have said that she wants to talk about issues; she should have denounced Illuzzi, with whom she has an extra-large, prominent advertisement.
I do think that there is an unacceptable fraternity mentality that seems to creep up among some Albany pols, as evidenced not only by Hoyt’s indiscretions, but also by “too drunk to f*ck” Mike Cole. These guys should go to Albany, do their jobs, and then come home. It shouldn’t be a social club, they should be working really hard on real issues that affect a state that’s sinking with every passing day.
So, the Hoyt story has legs only insofar as it’s being investigated by the Assembly ethics panel. Other than that, it’s rather beside the point, and I’d wager that it’s somewhat backfired on Hoyt’s opponents. By addressing the smears head-on, he’s actually gained some sympathy from many people who don’t like what was done to him, nor the way in which it was done.
Photo via Flickr user sarahkatina