Rochester Turning has filed a report from the latest Eric Massa press call. They’re reporting that Mr. Massa has decided to give the money he got from Spitzer away to charity rather than keeping it. Below is the relevant text of the post, with some minor formatting:
rochesterturning.com: turning the tide upstate
Q, Jill Terreri, D&C: Why were you compelled to donate the money he gave to you?
A: I want to sever all ties with Eliot Spitzer and myself. I am not going to return the money to him so he can continue using it for whatever purpose he is using his money. We donated the money to battered women in Steuben County to put it to some good use.
Mr. Massa is definitely one of those guys who would make this sort of decision on his own, purely on integrity. But does it concern him at all that the NRCC has already made calls for Democratic candidates to release Spitzer’s “dirty money?” This action may come across to voters as a capitulation to Republican pressure, though his opponent Randy Kuhl has thus far not made the same demands. And what about other candidates, are they likely to follow suit? Jared Smith at Massa for Congress was good enough to pass along my questions.
The Massa camp reiterated Eric Massa’s “disgust” for Eliot Spitzer’s actions, and said he shared those feelings with all New Yorkers. They further responded responded that, indeed, their decision to donate the money to The Net Domestic Abuse Program in Steuben County was Mr. Massa’s own decision and not based on any outside pressure. They pointed out that Randy Kuhl is among those Republican politicians who have not returned the money taken from the indicted Tom DeLay, so NRCC pressure does not seem to concern them much. As for pressure on Democratic candidates, the Massa campaign responded that they can only speak for and act on their own behalf.
I also spoke with Jon Powers‘ campaign manager, John Gerken. He indicated that Mr. Powers supported calls for Spitzer to resign as the best way to resolve the issue for voters in the state. When I asked about Eric Massa’s decision to donate Spitzer’s money, Mr. Gerken said that Jon Powers has not accepted any money from Eliot Spitzer.