Kingston Democrats have filed a complaint with state election officials accusing a third-party candidate for mayor of raising campaign funds without filing the necessary paperwork.
Vince Rua is one of three candidates vying to unseat incumbent Steve Noble in November. A former member of the Kingston Republican Committee, Rua is running on the Serve America Movement party line. In a complaint to the state Board of Elections, Kingston Board of Elections co-chair Matt Dunn accused Rua of failing to register his campaign committee, or file a required financial disclosure form by a July 15 deadline. Dunn wrote Rua has been raising money for his mayoral campaign since at least June 2018, when he set up a campaign website that included a donation button. Dunn added that Rua had solicited donations and paid for campaign items and run paid Facebook ads stamped with the name of what he called a “fictitious committee” — “Friends of Vince Rua.” Dunn noted that since the complaint was filed, Rua had registered a campaign committee, but had yet to file the disclosure report.
“Mr. Rua failed to register his committee with the board of elections and ignored his legal obligation to disclose his financial activity,” Dunn wrote in the complaint.
In an emailed response, Rua called the complaint a “smear tactic” by his opponents. Rua said his campaign had raised $9,000 and spent $7,000. Rua added that the campaign team member responsible for filing the reports had recently been hospitalized with heart trouble. Rua said he had recently registered his campaign committee and was awaiting a filing number from the state board of elections to file the detailed financial disclosures.
“We learned of the issue; we are resolving the issue,” Rua wrote. “That is what voters can expect from a Rua administration.”
Rua said he believed the complaint was based on Democrats’ concern about his robust fundraising activity.
“I can only assume that the real concern is not whether my filing was completed on time, but the breadth of support it shows for my candidacy,” wrote Rua.
Ellen DiFalco, who is running for mayor on the Republican Party line, said she found it “disturbing” that filing complaints about opponents’ financial disclosure had become “standard practice” for Kingston and Ulster Democrats. She accused several current members of Kingston’s all-Democratic Common Council of not filing any disclosure reports. At the same time, DiFalco faulted Rua for failing to file the required forms.
I find it perplexing his campaign treasurer has not filed the necessary reports on his behalf,” wrote DiFalco in an email. “This is either an oversight on his part or just plain negligence because he is very familiar with the filing deadlines.”
So far, Noble is the only candidate in the race to file any financial disclosure forms at all. According to state records, the incumbent Democrat raised $6,682 during the first half of 2019 and spent $1,701. DiFalco said she hasn’t held any fundraisers yet. A fourth candidate, Ethan Scott Barnett, running on the self-created “Kingston People’s Party” line said that he accepted one donation (for $10) and had no plans to solicit further campaign funds. Barnett urged his supporters to donate to local progressive causes instead.
“Money in politics leads to corruption on all levels,” Barnett wrote in a Facebook message.