BUFFALO, NY — Long-time political power broker Steve Pigeon is one of three who has been indicted by a grand jury for allegedly violating Election Law.
Pigeon, 56, Kristy Mazurek, 46, and David Pfaff, 58, have each alleged to have knowingly and willfully engaged in illegal campaign coordination while acting on behalf of the Western New York Progressive Caucus (WNYPC) and Western New York Freedom (WNYF), groups that are “unauthorized political committees,” according to the indictment announced by Attorney General Eric Schneiderman.
Pigeon, the former chairman of the Erie County Democratic Party and two of his associates, ran the WNYPC, a campaign committee unaffiliated with any candidate. Prosecutors say the committee spends thousands of dollars over the legal limits to help elect three hand-picked candidates in the 2013 primary.
All three were previously arraigned on a felony complaint regarding the same charges back in April.
Paul Cambria, Pigeon's attorney, told 2 On Your Side that the "indictment moves things forward. You can’t move to the the next step on a criminal complaint, you need to be indicted first."
According to the original felony complaint, very little money was raised by the candidates themselves. According to Schneiderman, one candidate raised just $125 between July 27, 2013 and September 10, 2013, while WNYPC kicked in about $283,000 in contributions and spent extensively in support of the candidate’s campaign.
If convicted of the four felonies, each would face up to four years in prison.
“Today’s indictment sends a clear message that we’ll continue to aggressively enforce our state’s election and campaign finance laws,” Schneiderman said in a statement. “As we allege, the defendants illegally coordinated with their own handpicked candidates for office, using a political committee to circumvent the law and undermine the integrity of our elections. These actions aren’t just illegal – they erode the public trust, and we intend to hold them accountable.”
The indictment stems from a joint investigation by the Attorney General, New York State Police, FBI and the New York State Board of Elections.
This is a breaking news story and will be updated.