Erie County, NY – Fundraisers are nothing new. Campaign contributions are nothing new. For years, WNY politicians have been unethically accepting money from people, skirting NYS election law and lining each others pockets. Its an art that has been perfected here in Erie County.

After all, why accept a contribution of 5,000 from a company when you can rake in twice that with your own personally hosted fundraiser.

Conflicts of interest abound everyday in Erie County. And like most activity around here these days, this one doesn’t quite pass the smell test either.

While not suggesting that any impropriety has taken place one has to seriously question where good moral and ethical judgement is when it comes to Erie Counties political class.

Sheriff Tim Howard had a fundraiser this evening at the Buffalo Launch club. Normally this activity would be harmless. But when the fundraiser is hosted by a company with serious contracts with Erie County, more specifically the Erie County Sheriffs Department, one had to wonder where the sheriff’s judgement was on this one.

The fundraiser was hosted by the wives of Sheriff Howard’s political appointees, as well as Smith Boy Marine Sales and Delacy Ford. To say the least, Its unusual for a company with county contracts to sponsor a fundraiser. Usually they just give money. But when you want to give more money than legally allowed, what do you do in New York State? That’s right, hold a fundraiser:

An Evening with Sheriff Tim Howard sponsored by Trisha Patronik, Maureen Fitzpatrick-Doyle, DeLacy Ford and Smith Boys Marine Sales:

Time: 5:30 – 7:30 p.m.
Place: Buffalo Launch Club
Address: 503 East River Road, Grand Island
Cost: $40 per person, $70 per couple
Dress: Casual
Contact: Trisha Patronik, 852-1183 or 491-5244
Notes: Includes Beverages, Food and Yacht Rides (weather permitting)

Let’s see: Since 1999:

19 vehicles have been purchased by the Sheriff’s department from Delacy Ford at a taxpayer cost of $460,997
8 SUV’s have been purchased for Homeland Security purposes from Delacy Ford in 2004 at a taxpayer cost of 272,920.

Again no impropriety, but this sort of activity stinks similar to the way Joel Giambra raises cash for his elections.

Oh, you know the story by now… Giambra’s money man, Jim Spano of Buffalo Office Interiors was for years in charge of raising money for Joel Giambra. The deal: Give money to Joel and you’ll get some cheap office furniture.

When he became county executive, In return for Spano’s years of hard work, Giambra gave more than a half million in business in a no bid contract to Buffalo Office Interiors for some office furniture. That, by the way is on its way to court soon to re-coop that money because it was done illegally.

If Sheriff Howard wins, expect some nice new Crown Victoria’s on the street, and some more money back in the pocket of Delacy Ford. (Don’t those things blow up on impact or something?)

Or maybe he’ll read this and see how crown Victoria’s are not the safest cars for his employees.

The City of Dallas even sued because they were so bad:

The City of Dallas sued Ford Motor Co., seeking information about Crown Victoria police cars that officers’ groups say are prone to erupt in flames when hit from behind at high speeds.

City officials want to know whether the vehicles are safe enough. They have been in talks with Ford for two weeks but are not satisfied with the amount of information that Ford said it would provide about so-called bladders, sacks to protect fuel from igniting.

Knowing that why would you buy them in the first place Sheriff Howard?

But more importantly, one really has to wonder where the judgement and ethical standards of our politicians, especially a Sheriff have gone….