CAMPAIGN CONFIDENTIAL

By E.J. Kessler

Published September 10, 2004, issue of September 10, 2004.
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Corsi Conciliation: Jerome Corsi, the co-author of the anti-John Kerry book “Unfit for Command” — who recently apologized publicly for some coarse comments about Muslims, Catholics and Jews that he posted on a right-wing Web site, freerepublic.com — called the Forward on Tuesday to attest to his pro-Jewish bona fides.

“I have created two mutual funds for the State of Israel for B’nai B’rith,” said Corsi, an investment specialist who has worked for banks and for his own firms. Although neither fund succeeded because of lack of investor interest, “I [went] to Jerusalem twice as the guest of B’nai B’rith…. I worked two years of my life to get [the funds] done. I’ve been a strong supporter of B’nai B’rith and Jewish causes for 30 years,” Corsi said.

As for the outré comments, they were “for generating discussion, satirical purposes, whatever.”

Added Corsi in an e-mail: “My current financial services company, U.S. Financial Marketing Group, is currently developing affinity marketing programs for Jewish social service workers.” A plug he wants, yet?

* * *

Bronx Brawl: A State Senate primary in the Bronx, N.Y., involving two Jewish candidates is getting ugly, with one of the candidates, Assemblyman Jeffrey Klein, charging that his opponent, Assemblyman Stephen Kaufman, and the Republican State Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno are behind illegal campaign mailings targeting Klein.

Spokesmen for both men deny the claim.

The glossy, four-page mailings, which do not list any political committee or return address — a no-no in New York — accuse Klein, a lawyer, of defending nursing homes at which patients are abused. One lurid piece shows an elderly woman with an oxygen tube in her nose. “Tied to a bed,” it says. “Left in a diaper.” Listing some instances of alleged abuse at the homes, it says: “Klein defends these nursing homes, for money. He doesn’t deserve your vote.” Another mailing asks, “Who would profit from the misery of nursing home patients?”, and names Klein.

Klein, a Democrat, alleges that the mailings were authorized by Kaufman — a Democrat who has announced his intention of aligning himself with the Republican State Senate majority should he be elected — and by a political action committee controlled by Bruno.

“It’s Stephen Kaufman’s campaign. It’s done by Senate Republicans. They do it through all kinds of slush funds,” Klein said. “It’s coming from New York Forward PAC, run by Bruno…. People know what it is. It’s a Republican attack. It’s sleazy. It’s not true.”

“My law firm, we do not defend nursing homes in cases of abuse or neglect. The only time we do is guardianship proceedings.”

A spokesman for Kaufman, John Gallagher, said of the mailings: “It didn’t come from this campaign. I’ve heard there’s a piece circulating. We didn’t send it out.”

Said a spokesman for Senator Bruno, Mark Hansen: “We don’t know anything about the mailings.”

This being New York, the mailings have a union “bug,” indicating the use of a union printing shop, from Allied Printing in Albany.

* * *

Student Seminar: The Republican Party is using a new organization, Jewish College Republicans, to recruit students into the ranks of its operatives and activists.

At the first national Jewish College Republican event, held last Thursday at the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Manhattan, Jewish liaisons for the Bush-Cheney campaign, Governor George Pataki, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mayor Michael Bloomberg, gave capsule accounts of how they became involved in political work and advised students how they could do the same.

Given that most of the students present were Orthodox Jews, the speakers, three of five of who are themselves Orthodox, took pains to emphasize that one could contribute to campaigns and still live an observant life.

Bush campaign aide Tevi Troy, one of the Orthodox speakers, described how the campaign was willing to take him on “24/6.”

“This president is so strong on issues of the Jewish community,” he said, adding: “Re-electing President Bush is the most important thing we can do in our lifetime,” he said. “Our very lives are at stake.”

Jonathan Greenspun, Bloomberg’s liaison, recounted how he had gotten involved in politics after the Crown Heights riots of 1991. “I was going to make sure that never happened again,” he said, recalling how he had signed on to the 1993 campaign of Rudolph Giuliani.

Michele Kleinert, Schwarzenegger’s aide, told of her circuitous route to the governor’s office after working for Steven Spielberg’s foundation and the 2000 vice presidential campaign of Senator Joseph Lieberman.

Pataki’s liaison, Michael Fragin, gave the basics of standing by your political man: “Everybody wants a piece. Everybody wants access to the governor,” he said. “What we need to think about is, not what’s best in a personal sense but, what’s best for the principal, best for the state.”

Fragin cajoled the assembled students, most of whom attend Yeshiva University, saying: “If you’re willing to put in the time and effort, a little knowledge can go a long way.”

Of course it was noted that even the president’s chief political adviser, Karl Rove, started out as a College Republican.






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