Politics

NY Assembly Republicans Had GPS Placed On Dem Assemblyman’s Car

| by Sarah Fruchtnicht

A detective hired by Assembly Republicans in Albany, NY, placed a GPS device on a Democratic Assemblyman’s car in an unsuccessful effort to prove he didn’t live in his Long Island district.

Investigator Adam Rosenblatt said he was hired in March by James Walsh, an attorney for the Assembly Republican Campaign Committee, to figure out where Assemblyman Edward Hennessey (D-Suffolk) actually lived, according to in court transcripts.

That same month Walsh was paid $3,000 by the GOP campaign committee, New York Daily News reported.

Hennessey, a first-term Democrat, is currently seeking reelection.

Rosenblatt testified before an August hearing during which Republicans were unsuccessful as forcing Hennessey out. He said he surveilled three properties linked to Hennessey, ran various license plates at those locations and accessed public surveillance footage.

He then placed a GPS device on the assemblyman’s car while he was inside a Central Islip court and tracked his movements from April 4 to June 7.

Rosenblatt said the device would notify him each time the car drove over 55 mph or entered zones around the three properties.

Given the evidence, a judge ruled Hennessey could stay on the ballot.

Although the use of the GPS was legal, Hennessey said his GOP rival Dean Murray had crossed the line.

“I don’t know what’s worse — attempting to mislead the court in a lawsuit claiming I don’t live here, or having some creep crawl under my family car to place a GPS tracking device to stalk us,” Hennessey said. “With this disturbing behavior, Murray has taken negative campaigning to a new low. The judge affirmed I live in the district, and now voters should question whether this man who has gone to such bizarre lengths to prove otherwise is really fit for public office.”

Manhattan Democrat Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said “legal or not, it’s offensive to every law-abiding citizen that they would spend campaign funds to have somebody tracked.”

Sources: New York Daily News, Newsday

Image credit: Flickr Creative Commons / Justin Jensen