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Congressman Tom Reed defeated challenger Tracy Mitrano in the last NYS-23rd Congressional District election. While Mitrano won 74.52% of the votes in generally liberal Tompkins County, the 23rd district is largely conservative. Reed, who has represented the district in Washington since 2010, won 53.78%, with Mitrano's getting 43.99% of the votes. Mitrano never stopped campaigning, issuing weekly statements slamming Reed's positions and voting record. The Reed campaign was silent until a week and a half ago, when the gloves came off.

Reed Campaign spokesman Matt Coker sent a press release August 5th accusing Mitrano when his campaign accused Mitrano of "pocketing campaign funds."

"New Yorkers will be shocked to know Tracy Mitrano is transferring funds from her campaign account directly to herself. According to the Federal Election Commission records, Tracy Mitrano has paid herself $16,750 in "rent" payments since January 2019. Federal Election Commission regulations prohibit campaigns from paying the mortgage, rent, or utilities for the personal residence of the candidate or the candidate's family even if part of the residence is being used by the campaign," he said.

The Mitrano campaign was quick to respond, calling the accusations a "baseless attack".

Mitrano campaign representative Claudia Wheatley wrote, "Reed insinuated in a press release that Tracy is paying herself "rent" from campaign contributions for her personal home. The campaign is legally required to pay rent and utilities and report it as an Operating Expenditure. The line item on the Federal Elections Commission report is for a secondary property owned by Mitrano that she has used for campaign activity, meetings with reporters and storage of campaign materials. The property is not Mitrano's residence; she has lived in Penn Yann for the last three years, as documented in her federal income tax filings."

On August 7th Wheatley added, "Reed has a similar arrangement with his offices in Corning. Both are within the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) rules."

She accused Reed of being the only candidate in the race with a record of financial violation.

But Coker wasn't done. The next day he sent another statement accusing Mitrano of breaking a personal pledge on accepting PAC contributions, citing three contributions from PACs.

Wheatley immediately responded, calling the allegation "another "manufactured controversy" from the Reed campaign.

"Reed recently claimed that his is a grassroots campaign, funded by donations from individuals. The second-quarter report for 2020 showed that such "small-dollar" donations comprise only 35 percent of his campaign funds, versus 93 percent of Mitrano's," she wrote.

"Unless his campaign team are willfully ignorant, they haven't distinguished difference between corporate PACs and PACs comprising special interest groups and sitting elected officials," said Mitrano. "Or they know the distinction and are seeking to sow confusion and distract attention from where Reed gets his money. Tom Reed is doing same thing with PACs today as he did with his charges about the FEC Wednesday; he is manufacturing a controversy unsupported by the facts," said Mitrano. "If I were the incumbent, I would hope to run on my record. Since Reed obviously can't do that, having neglected this district for the last ten years, I guess throwing mud into clear waters is all he has left."

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