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RE: [FJGRailroad] Boehlert: I am not under investigation

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  • paul larner
    ALso Pataki and box seats at the Super Bowl.
    Message 1 of 2 , Feb 9, 2006
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      ALso Pataki and box seats at the Super Bowl.


      >From: Gino's Railpage <fjgrailroad@...>
      >Reply-To: FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com
      >To: FJGRailroad@yahoogroups.com, DOS Group <DOSystem@yahoogroups.com>,
      >gcdranet@yahoogroups.com, Railroad_CACV@yahoogroups.com
      >Subject: [FJGRailroad] Boehlert: I am not under investigation
      >Date: Thu, 9 Feb 2006 09:12:40 -0500
      >
      >Boehlert: I am not under investigation
      >
      >
      >Lobbying commission is looking into events held by Walter Rich
      >
      >By Tom Grace
      >
      >Cooperstown News Bureau
      >
      >Rep. Sherwood Boehlert, R-New Hartford, is not being investigated by
      >the New York State Lobbying Commission, the congressman said Monday.
      >
      >That commission is examining parties hosted by Boehlert's friend
      >Walter Rich to see whether they violated state lobbying rules.
      >
      >Every summer on Baseball Hall of Fame weekend, Rich, president and
      >chief executive officer of the New York Susquehanna & Western Railway,
      >hosts large parties for politicians, including Boehlert.
      >
      >The parties are held at Rich's residence, Edgewater, a 19th-century
      >brick mansion owned by the NYS&W's parent company, the Delaware-Otsego
      >Corporation.
      >
      >Boehlert said his annual party is well-attended and fun and he always
      >pays for services rendered. For his last party there, he paid $10,825,
      >according to his spokesman, Sam Marchio.
      >
      >"For many people, it's the social event of the summer season in
      >Cooperstown, especially if you're a baseball fan," Boehlert said. "And
      >I'm a baseball nut."
      >
      >But state lobbying regulators have not asked him for information about
      >his parties because he is a federal and not a state employee, he said.
      >
      >As a House member, Boehlert is subject to the Lobbying Disclosure Act
      >and other federal rules. He said that because he and Rich have known
      >each other since before 1982, when he was first elected to Congress,
      >their relationship comes under the "friendship exception" that allows
      >them to exchange gifts.
      >
      >"Walter and I are good friends," Boehlert said. "I stood up for him at
      >his wedding, and he met his wife at one of my functions.
      >
      >"So I don't have to worry. He can't give me a $10,000 party, but he
      >can give me gifts and I don't have to report them."
      >
      >Nonetheless, Boehlert said, he does not accept gifts from Rich and
      >even pays his host when he happens to spend the night at Edgewater.
      >
      >"I do that just to make sure everything is above-board," he said.
      >
      >David Grandeau, the Lobbying Commission's executive director, said it
      >has no authority over federal officials. The current investigation of
      >Rich's parties stems from an investigation conducted by the state
      >attorney general's and inspector general's offices in 2003-04, he
      >said.
      >
      >When Grandeau was asked Monday what had led the Lobbying Commission to
      >investigate Rich's Hall of Fame parties, he cited the 2004 report,
      >which states that Rich estimates his Hall of Fame weekend parties cost
      >about $100,000 to produce.
      >
      >The essence of the lobbying investigation is to determine whether the
      >beneficiaries of the parties adequately paid for them or whether the
      >parties might constitute gifts. Under state law, politicians can not
      >take gifts worth more than $75 from lobbyists.
      >
      >Attorney Nathan Fenno, who represents the NYS&W, said Tuesday that
      >Rich's HOF weekend parties are not just for politicians.
      >
      >"The railroad invites guests, and for the past few years, we've had
      >parties for The Salvation Army, too," he said.
      >
      >Fenno said Rich and other NYS&W executives believe they have done nothing
      >wrong.
      >
      >"We've been asked to provide information for the Commission, and we've
      >provided it," he said.
      >
      >--
      >www.ginosrailpage.com
      >www.fjgrr.org
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