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Aug 7, 2012 4:17 PMPublication: The East Hampton Press

Campaign Diary: Altschuler Critizes Bishop's Business Relationship With Daughter

Aug 8, 2012 9:45 AM

Molly Bishop, Democratic U.S. Representative Tim Bishop’s daughter, has responded to claims that her business relationship with her father is an improper benefit she reaps because of his position as a congressman.

In a statement on July 28, Ms. Bishop said recent statements criticizing the practice by Randy Altschuler, her father’s Republican opponent, were “baseless” attacks. Mr. Altschuler accused Mr. Bishop of engaging in a pattern of “abusing his power in Congress to enrich his own family” in a statement this week.

“It’s taken a long time, and a considerable amount of hard work to build a business from the ground up,” Ms. Bishop said in the statement. “After spending a lifetime and making a fortune outsourcing American jobs to India, it’s obvious that Altschuler has no respect for local, American small businesses.”

Mr. Bishop and other Suffolk County Democrats have paid his daughter for her political consulting services through her company, MCB Consulting, over the last seven years. It’s not the first time Mr. Bishop’s been criticized for the practice—it is mentioned in a 2005 Newsday article, which Mr. Altschuler cited in his statement.

Mr. Altschuler also cited a March report by the nonpartisan group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. Out of 90 representatives that paid or contributed to a family business, employer or associated nonprofit in the 2008 and 2010 election cycles, Mr. Bishop is in the top five. He paid his daughter $250,000, the report notes.

Ms. Bishop has been paid more than $580,000 from her father’s congressional campaign committee since 2002 and 2012, according to Mr. Altschuler’s figures, which quote Federal Election Commission finance records. Mr. Altschuler also criticized Mr. Bishop for having members of his family employed at Southampton College while he was provost, citing the Newsday article, which states that his wife, Kathy Bishop, was one of the individuals employed.

“At a time when people are having such hardship, frankly putting 10 members of extended family on the payroll of Southampton College or being cited by a watchdog group as being one of the worst offenders of leveraging his position, I just think that’s not right,” Mr. Altschuler said in a recent interview. Robert Pierce, Mr. Bishop’s communications director, stressed that while relatives of Mr. Bishop worked at the college, he was not responsible for their hirings, which had to be approved by administration at Long Island University. He also said that Mr. Bishop “has a very large family in Southampton.”

Ms. Bishop first got involved with her father’s campaign more than a decade ago, when the Bishops were sitting around their dining room table and she volunteered to be his campaign fundraiser, recounted Mr. Bishop in a recent interview.

“She was a senior in college,” he said. “She did an absolutely first rate job. So I hired her. I don’t see anything wrong with that.”

Ms. Bishop called Mr. Altschuler’s positions “anti-woman” in the statement.

“We know Altschuler’s positions are anti-woman,” she said. “But now we know that he’ll even attack a local small businesswoman if he sinks low enough in the polls. I’ve run a small business on Long Island for longer than Altschuler has even lived here, and I’m proud to have created jobs in Suffolk County, something Altschuler has never done.”

Diana Weir, Mr. Altschuler’s campaign manager, said that Mr. Altschuler’s consultant, campaign manager, deputy campaign manager and finance director are all women.

“He’s got a mother, a wife, a daughter,” she said. “His campaign manager is not only a woman, but also a Hispanic woman. So I kind of don’t get the connection of not liking women.”

The Altschuler campaign pressed the issue harder last week by demanding Mr. Bishop disclose details of his family members who were employed at Southampton College while he was provost. In a statement, they list four items they want answered: the official job title, salary and benefits for each Bishop family member for each year they were on payroll; proof that the jobs Mr. Bishop’s family were hired to existed previously; proof that the jobs were publicly advertised; and a “fiscal justification” for hiring 10 family members while the school was “in the midst of piling up $55 million in debt and more than doubling tuition rates on students.”

The Altschuler campaign also claimed Mr. Bishop’s wife operated a for-profit summer camp and child care center at the college without paying any rent for three decades—a “sweetheart deal” that needs explanation.

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To Ms. Bishop: Many have worked hard to build businesses and own homes on the East End - you are just lucky your father has subsidized you while, at the same time, making poor decisions that leave the rest of us "middle class" business and working people in the lurch. Randy Altschuler, who speaks highly of his hard-working wife and his mother whoe worked hard to raise and educate him, has my vote. Although I can understand this "news" has given you a platform to sound your Dad's bells ... the ...more
By Board Watcher (534), East Hampton on Aug 17, 12 10:18 AM