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Crowley spends $425K in re-election bid

U.S. Rep. Joseph Crowley (D-Elmhurst), who is facing four opponents in a race for the 7th Congressional District seat, had spent $425,506 as of Aug. 23, campaign finance documents filed with the Federal Election Commission show.

Rose Robles Birtley, running on the Republican ticket, Christea Garafalia on the Right to Life ticket, Robert Hurley, on the Conservative Party ticket and Paul Gilman of the Green Party are also vying for the seat.

Birtley was not required to file her expenditures because she had not spent more than $1,000 on her campaign. Under federal election law, a candidate is not required to file his or her expenses if they do not exceed that amount.

The campaign finances for Garafalia, Hurley and Gilman did not appear on the Federal Election Commission's website where financial disclosures are listed.

Crowley had raised $678,983, including a starting balance of $183,614 as of Jan. 1, 1999, and had $437,091 left in his campaign by Aug. 23, 2000, according to the reports filed with the FEC.

Crowley, who is seeking his second term in Congress, once again had no opponent in the Democratic primary because his chief rival, City Councilman Walter McCaffrey (D-Woodside), was forced to drop out in August after alleged fund-raising irregularities in previous council campaigns surfaced.

In 1998 Queens Democratic County leader Tom Manton, for whom both McCaffrey and Crowley had worked, announced he would not seek re-election and handpicked Crowley to run in his place. Since the filing deadline had passed, Crowley was able to run with no major party opponents.

Crowley now has a substantial amount of money left over to spend. Most of the money the congressman has spent on the 2000 race has gone to political consultants working for him.

Aside from a $23,230.46 bill for American Express for food, travel and office supplies, the organization that received the most money from Crowley was the Parkside Group, a Manhattan political consulting firm which got $19,000. Morris, Carrick & Guma, another Manhattan political consulting firm, was paid $15,475, the FEC documents show.

Lader Lally Victoria Inc., another consulting group in Takoma Park, Md., received $9,450 from Crowley's campaign in one lump sum and Lori Lafave of Lafave & Associates, a Manassas, Va. consulting firm, was given $2,000 on seven separate occasions for a total of $8,000.

Michael McSweeney, who is also listed on Crowley's payroll expense sheet, was paid $14,085 while working as a district director for the congressman. Crowley's treasurer, Scott Kaufman from Flushing, earned $9,335 for his work on the campaign.

The Crowley campaign also used a substantial amount of its campaign funds for receptions and fund-raisers. On March 16, he spent $8,375 for a fund-raiser at Floral Park's St. Patrick Society received and a month earlier on Feb. 2, he paid Manhattan's Plaza Hotel $6,558.91 for a dinner reception.

Reach reporter Peter Sorkin by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 155

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