UPDATED June 25.
LittleAfrica BronxNews is waiting on an official response from the DNC and answers to our questions posed to the Communications Director in response to her tweet on June 22. If we do not receive an official response from the DNC, we will file a complaint with the FEC and request the FEC investigate the robocall and get official answers from the DNC.
The Democratic National Committee (DNC) and President Barack Obama have publicly disavowed claims by Assemblyman Michael Blake and his campaign that the DNC and President Barack Obama have endorsed him for Congress in NY-15.
A robocall went out to voters in the Bronx’s NY-15 Congressional District over the past weekend. A community leader residing in the district provided LittleAfrica BronxNews with an audio file copy of the call.
An excerpt from the robocall states:
“The Democratic Party or previous presidents do not make endorsements in
democratic primaries. Barack Obama has not endorsed any candidate in
this race. The Democratic National Committee regrets misinformation
that is being given to the constituents of the 15th Congressional
The misleading information Assemblyman Blake, his campaign staffers and volunteers, have been telling voters in the 15th Congressional District could no
longer be ignored by the Democratic National Committee and former president
Obama and it resulted in the DNC robocall to voters in NY-15 setting the
record straight, said Ex-Assemblyman Michael Benjamin, who first announced news of the robocall on Twitter on Sunday.
It is regarded as highly unusual for the DNC to denounce the actions of its own
Vice-Chair, but Blake’s mischaracterization to the voters in NY-15 apparently could not be tolerated. Listen to the robocall below.
Benjamin, who now writes for the New York Post added, “The move by DNC Chairman Tom Perez to rebuke Assemblyman Blake’s exaggerated claims is a serious one. Some time ago, Perez had to withdraw his own endorsement of Blake because as DNC Chair, he isn’t supposed to become involved in intraparty primary fights.”
Coming two days before the democratic primary, the DNC and President
Obama were put in the uncomfortable position of addressing another of
Blake’s ethical breaches.
“A review of Blake’s campaign finance reports show that he has leveraged his DNC post to raise money from members of congress’ leadership PACs and from DNC donors themselves. And I suspect that prominent democrats, perhaps, New York democrats, called Tom Perez to insist that he do something,” added Benjamin.
Hank Sheinkopf, of Sheinkopf Communications, who has a long history
working on political campaigns, including Congressman Jose Serrano’s
first campaign for Congress, in the Clinton White House and international campaigns throughout Europe and Africa, says this is just another ethical breach by Blake.
Sheinkopf continued saying, “the person to benefit the most is Ruben
Diaz, Sr. NY-15 is home to the largest concentration of African voters
in the US. Africans value honesty and integrity. Diaz also putting an
African immigrant on his slate, Ahmadou Diallo, for District Leader in the 79th Assembly District, is seen as an act empowering Africans in the district. This is the beginning of the West African community amassing real power in the Bronx.”
A well researched article by Will Brederman in Crain’s New York on November 21, 2019, detailed how Blake had been abusing taxpayers money by using Assembly travel vouchers and claiming per diem reimbursement when not actually in Albany. The travel vouchers and per diems are for legislators to travel to and from Albany to conduct the business of his district — not to travel the country promoting himself.
According to a Dennis Slattery article in the NY Daily News article, Blake has
spent over a year out of his district traveling overseas and trying to
build his national profile for his run for congress.
African community leader and activist, Bourema (Naby) Niambele, who supports Ydanis Rodriguez, said “I just want our community to know integrity matters. We’ve all been hearing from Michael Blake and his campaign that Obama and the DNC endorsed him. Any person that lies to you to get elected will lie to you about everything. Integrity matters and honesty matters.”
The NY-15 primary is on Tuesday, June 23. The other candidates include Councilmen Ydanis Rodriguez and Ritchie Torres, ex-council speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, as well as community activists Samelys Lopez, Chavonne Newsome, and Julio Pabon. Polls are open 6am to 9pm. Today is the last day to mail in an absentee ballot.