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DEMOCRAT DECRIES GOP FUND RAISING

The chairman of the Chautauqua County Democratic Party Tuesday accused Republicans of political fund raising using county equipment on county time.

John Dillenburg said he has proof that GOP operatives tried to sell tickets to a political fund raiser featuring Gov. Pataki from county offices.

"There were some calls made from the County Office Building, by county employees, to raise funds for Andrew Goodell's re-election campaign," Dillenburg said. "We have pretty good proof that it actually happened, but I have filed a FOIL (Freedom of Information Law) request asking for the county's calling records."

Dillenburg has a telephone answering machine recording of Republican elections commissioner Terry Niebel. Niebel said he knows of no law against making political calls from county phones.

"I was involved with the Pataki luncheon, and I did make a number of phone calls to department heads and other public officials," Niebel said. "Most of those would have been from my home telephone. If, in fact, I made any from my office it would have been after hours."

County Executive Goodell said he had no knowledge of any such calls, and also said he did not believe it would be against the law.

Dillenburg admitted there is some irony in his party flinging fund-raising accusations at the GOP, while just the reverse is going on in Washington regarding White House fund-raising. "If it's illegal in Washington, it certainly ought to be illegal in Chautauqua County," he said.

Goodell quipped: "I have not offered to allow anyone to sleep in any of the bedrooms in my house or to come and have coffee with me, or even to fly in any county airplanes or ride in the sheriff's patrol boats."

He also acknowledged the county has a policy against politicking.

"Sometimes campaign supporters, of either party, get a little carried away in their zeal," he said. "It happened earlier this year when a county employee was selling fund-raising tickets in the county building to county employees, on county time for my opponent. We just reminded that employee that it's not appropriate. . . ."

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