On Friday Hamburg Democratic Committee chairman Terry MacKInnon filed formal complaints to the NYS Board of Elections Enforcement Counsel as well as the NYS Attorney General regarding current Erie County Comptroller and Town of Hamburg Supervisor candidate Stefan Mychajliw, and urged them to take swift action to hold him accountable and compel him to comply with the law.
Mr. Mychajliw, the top financial officer for Erie County, who shows up to work 5 weekdays per month and is running for his 3rd different office since moving to Hamburg 4 years ago, has failed to register a committee for the purpose of disclosing his contributions and expenditures relating to his Hamburg Supervisor candidacy, despite having held at least one fundraiser and expending money on letters to potential supporters and on multiple automated calls to the cell phones of thousands of Hamburg residents. An account for his Supervisor candidacy would have been required to be open before any money is received or spent for the purposes of this year’s election.
Presumably money being spent has been coming from his Comptroller account, which is illegal due to the different donor limits of $31,484 for Comptroller, as opposed to $2,196 for Hamburg Supervisor. Campaign finance laws and contribution limits ensure a level playing field. According to NYS Election Law 14-126(6) violators of this law are guilty of a class E felony.
In addition to his failure to open up an account for Hamburg Supervisor, Mychajliw has also failed to file his periodic report showing contributions and expenditures from his Comptroller account which was due July 15th. These reports help ensure transparency and accountability of politicians like Mychajliw. According to NYS Election Law 14-126(4), a person who knowingly and willfully fails to file these disclosure statements is guilty of a misdemeanor. Mychajliw, who has run for office multiple times, knows these disclosures are due.
This isn’t the first time Mr. Mychajliw has run afoul of campaign finance laws. Last year, leading up to his failed Congressional run in which he was rejected by Hamburg Republicans by a 2-1 margin, Mr. Mychajliw issued payments of thousands of dollars from his Comptroller account to his patronage staff, who then donated the exact amount into his Congressional account, skirting state and federal campaign finance laws. Mr. Mychajliw’s January campaign finance filing for his Comptroller account shows a $5,000 payment to the law firm of Muscato Dimillo Vona, presumably to defend himself from those same complaints.
“Campaign finance laws were put into place to ensure transparency, accountability, and a level playing field in campaigns,” said Hamburg Democratic Committee Chair Terry MacKinnon. “Mychajliw in the past has been financially supported by one of the region’s worst polluters, and has close ties to people who attended the January 6th insurrection. The voters of Hamburg have a right to know who is bankrolling Mr. Mychajliw’s campaign, and who he’d be beholden to should he become Supervisor.”