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Harckham, Michaelis Go Before Campaign Committee

Editor's note: Previously, only the ruling on Peter Michaelis' complaint was made available. This article has been updated to include both committee rulings.

District 2 County Legislator candidate Peter Michaelis (R) and incumbent Peter Harckham (D) brought their respective cases before the Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee on Wednesday, accusing each other of making misleading statements.

Michaelis complained to the committee that two recent mailers sent out on behalf of Harckham and paid for by Friends of Pete Harckham made “incorrect and misleading statements” under headings that stated “What Peter Michaelis would have done to seniors as County Legislator…” and “What Peter Michaelis would have done to families as County Legislator…”

The committee ruled the mailers were unfair, as Harckham has “no way of knowing or proving these assertions about what Mr. Michaelis would do if he were elected a County Legislator."

Harckham complained that campaign literature on behalf of Michaelis and the New York State Republican Committee was false and misleading by stating that “Pete Harckham crushed Northern Westchester taxpayers with his deciding vote to accept a HUD housing settlement which could cost taxpayers over $100 million.”

“The statements in our mailer are well-documented," said Michaelis in a statement. "The Housing Settlement that Pete Harckham voted for could indeed cost Westchester taxpayers more than $100 million, not the $52 million that Harckham has been telling voters, and threatens to dismantle our local zoning laws.”

The committee, however, also ruled that the campaign was unfair as "the use of the term 'crushed' without any qualifier implied that it was a certainty that the housing settlement would cost taxpayers over $100 million, when there was significant doubt whether that would occur.

“It is shameful and divisive that Peter Michaelis has chosen to seize this as his signature issue," said Harckham in a statement. "Especially when breaking the settlement agreement would remove the taxpayer protections that we have negotiated and received in writing.”

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