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COMPLAINT FILED AGAINST CONSERVATIVE PARTY

The state Board of Elections is reviewing a complaint charging that the Hamburg Conservative Committee has not filed financial statements with Erie County.

Philip Best, a Hamburg Republican, filed the complaint after he requested the statements from the Erie County Board of Elections and was told it had no record of filings.

"It's public information. That's why the Board of Elections maintains this information for five years," Best said. "I just want to see the disclosures."

The financial statements list contributors' names, how much was given and note where the money was spent.

Lee Daghlian, a spokesman for the state Board of Elections, said the complaint was received Aug. 16. Once a complaint is received, it is reviewed by the enforcement counsel and his office to determine whether or not there is an obvious violation, Daghlian said. The enforcement counsel would bring a recommendation to the Board of Elections, which would decide whether an investigation is needed.

Judy Krautsack, chairwoman of the Conservative Committee, said any money that is raised or spent is done by the Hamburg Conservative Club.

"We don't do it in the name of the committee," she said.

The Hamburg Conservative Club holds a fund-raiser each May, and the proceeds are used for scholarships to one senior from each of the four high schools in Hamburg and for firefighter and police officer of the year awards, Krautsack said.

"We've got records of where our money goes," she said.

She said when she took over as party chairwoman several years ago, the committee had about $70. The committee decided the club would take over the fund-raising, she said.

"They should be held accountable," Best maintained.

"He's still upset we didn't give him the Conservative endorsement when he ran for Council," Krautsack countered.

Best ran unsuccessfully for Hamburg Town Board in 1997 on the Republican and Freedom party lines. Krautsack said committee members decided to endorse the incumbents rather than Best and another challenger in that race. She said unlike many other political committees, her committee makes endorsements using a secret ballot.

"If you have someone in there doing a good job it's hard not to endorse them," she said.

Best said he did not make the complaint because he is disgruntled with the endorsement process, but he does not plan on running again for the Town Board.

"This is just politics, but in politics, you've got to keep them honest," Best said.

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