A strategist for Republican Senate candidate David Storobin’s campaign passed along a memo highlighting the four main lines of attack the Republican expects to pursue against Brooklyn Councilman Lew Fidler during the rest of their campaign.
These talking points are expected to show up in flyers, mailers and media messaging up until Election Day on Mar. 20 – and are specifically intended to beat back the good government credentials Fidler is trying to burnish through his recent endorsement from State Sen. Liz Krueger’s “No Bad Apples” PAC, the Storobin source said.
Fidler’s campaign sent me a response (posted in full at the bottom of this post), which does not directly address Storobin’s expected lines of attack, but states that “Storobin’s entire campaign playbook consists of outright lies” and that “he has not a single positive thing to say about himself.”
The titles of the talking points listed here are from Storobin’s campaign – and are not my own.
Talking Point 1: “Spreading Lies About David Storobin”
Following the blow-up over the Fidler campaigns claims that Storobin had ties to white supremacist groups, Storobin is expected to question Fidler’s truthfulness, according to the source from Storobin’s campaign.
Fidler’s campaign seemed to back off its claims yesterday.
“Lew Fidler made repeated, baseless accusations that David Storobin was a neo-nazi who had ties to skinheads,” the Storobin memo states. “After days of spreading despicable lies and suffering the condemnation of Jewish leaders throughout the community, Fidler finally backpedaled…but not because he knows he’s wrong but because he got caught in a lie. If you can’t trust Lew Fidler’s word on David Storobin’s Jewish faith, you can’t trust anything he says.”
Talking Point 2: “Campaign Finance Misdeeds”
The Storobin campaign plans to highlight a 2009 Daily News editorial hitting Fidler for taking $84,122 in taxpayer matching funds money for an uncompetitive Council election in 2009. The Daily News called on Fidler to return it, and Fidler said at the time: “If it turns out that I don’t need it, I’ll return it.
But, as Storobin’s memo notes, it appears Fidler did not.
Talking Point 3: “Parking Perk”
In 2010, the Post found that Fidler was illegally using a space in a public plaza outside Brooklyn Borough Hall to park at his law office. In that article, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz said that elected officials could only park there when on official business.
The Storobin memo says the campaign will also highlight another recent article by Rich Calder of the Post, which charged that Fidler was still parking illegally, even as his current campaign unfolded. After the recent story, Fidler told Calder said he had permission to park in the spot, but when asked on whose authority, he said, “I can’t talk” and hung up the phone, according to Calder.
The stories could be used to paint Fidler as a political insider – something the Senate Republicans have been trying to do.
Talking Point 4: “Extra Income Problems”
Finally, according to the Storobin memo, his campaign is planning to make an issue of Fidler’s outside job as chief lawyer at LawCash, a company that advances money to plaintiffs, some of whom have business before the city. The firm charges between 2 to 4 percent a month on the loans.
One controversial case, as reported by the Post, involved advancing money to Joseph Guzman, who was shot 16 times in the 50-bullet shootout that killed Sean Bell, and won a $3 million settlement.
“If they lose the case they get nothing, if they win, they get principal plus interest,” the Storobin memo states. “Fidler has claimed that there is no conflict of interest in his position as chief lawyer and councilman because the firm’s underwriters determine the firm’s plaintiffs. It has been reported Fidler earns anywhere between $60,000 to $80,000 in addition to his council salary. LawCash is banned from doing business in Colorado, at the direction of the State’s Attorney General.”
Meanwhile, here’s a statement from Fidler’s campaign spokeswoman, Jennifer Krinsky, which does not address the specific charges laid out in the Storobin memo:
“It’s so sad, but not surprising, that Mr. Storobin’s entire campaign playbook consists of outright lies, and that he has not a single positive thing to say about himself.
“If Mr. Storobin thinks jobs, the economy, helping parents pay for their children’s education and providing services for our seniors are not worthy campaign issues, then he is sorely mistaken. Mr. Storobin either doesn’t know or doesn’t care about the community he desires to represent.
“While Councilman Fidler has a record of results and community service, it has become quite obvious that Mr. Storobin is running away from the issues that matter most to the people of Brooklyn.”
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