Appellate Division hears issue of special prosecutor for Working Families Party
The justices of the Appellate Division, Second Department, gathered Thursday in their Brooklyn Heights courthouse to hear arguments regarding whether or not to appoint a special prosecutor in the investigation of a political party.
The Working Families Party (WFP) was sued after allegations emerged that it was closely tied to the consulting firm Data and Field Services, Inc. The firm provided campaign services, such as canvassing and other field operations, for WFP candidates. It was alleged that WFP arranged with Data and Field Services, a for-profit corporation, to provide WFP candidates with a discount on campaign services.
It was also alleged that WFP arranged with Data and Field Services to provide funds to a Staten Island City Council candidate in 2009. The suit was settled in 2011, and part of the settlement specified that WFP would sever its ties with Data and Field Services.
“We’re pleased to put this nuisance lawsuit behind us,” WFP Executive Director Dan Cantor said in a statement at the time of the settlement.
The settlement notwithstanding, the Staten Island District Attorney Daniel Donovan appointed special prosecutor Roger Adler, a former president of the Brooklyn Bar Association, to conduct a criminal investigation probe into WFP’s activities. The request to appoint Adler, a donor to the Conservative Party and a steady foe of WFP, was done under seal.
WFP lawyers argue that any investigation must be handled by Donovan, an elected official, and his responsibilities cannot be transferred to an “unelected, inexperienced and unaccountable special prosecutor.”
A spokesman for Donovan declined to comment on the current case.
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