Monday, September 18, 2006


Republican New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will host a fundraiser for Sen. Joe Lieberman, D-Conn., at the mayor's Manhattan town house, Lieberman's campaign announced Sunday night.

...Dan Gerstein, a spokesman for Lieberman's campaign, said the fundraiser will be held Nov. 1 and will be co-chaired another New York Republican, former Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, and former Democratic New York Mayor Ed Koch....



During the Don Imus radio program on April 4, 1995, [D'Amato] used a mock Japanese accent to impersonate Lance Ito, a Japanese American judge overseeing the ongoing O. J. Simpson trial (Ito has a characteristically American accent). He later apologized on the Senate floor for his comments.

In 1994, he insulted Betsy McCaughey Ross, the Republican candidate for New York Lieutenant Governor; he joked that in order to get an endorsement for her running mate, George Pataki, she should have sex with New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani, who had endorsed Mario Cuomo.

In October 1998, D'Amato was criticized for insulting Congressman Jerry Nadler. According to USAToday, D'Amato "referred to the heavyset Nadler as 'Congressman Waddler.' He also did a physical imitation of Nadler, D-N.Y., waddling like a duck." D'Amato subsequently apologized, saying, "It was a poor attempt at humor, and I was wrong, and I apologized to him."


... D'Amato is certainly familiar with courthouses, if only from the large number of his close associates who have been convicted of crimes. His mentor, then-GOP County Chairman Joseph Margiotta, was sentenced to two years in prison for an insurance commission kickback scheme. D'Amato was referred to in the indictment, but, as has been the case with other accusations, walked away a free man, leaving others holding the bag.

When a scheme requiring 1-percent kickbacks to the D'Amato-led local GOP from town employees came to light, D'Amato denied under oath to a grand jury that he knew anything about this illegal, Tammany Hall-style scam. He later essentially admitted knowledge of the kickback scheme, calling it a bad idea in retrospect.

In the Senate, to which he was first elected in 1980, D'Amato was famous among lobbyists for the astonishing directness of favors paid for and rendered. Time and again, he would get a big campaign contribution, then alter his stand on a vote of importance to the giver. For example, in 1985, D'Amato changed his position on legislation of keen interest to Michael Milken's Drexel Burnham junk-bond operation after receiving dozens of contributions from the firm.

As the master of (barely) plausible deniability, he always claimed ignorance of improper acts carried out on his behalf, like the illegal contribution from the scandalous military contractor Wedtech, that his campaign accepted in 1985. D'Amato allowed his brother Armand, a lobbyist, to use his Capitol Hill office to help a paying client, an act that earned the senator a 6-0 reprimand from the Senate Ethics Committee.

D'Amato's offenses against propriety, most of which must be assessed anecdotally since they always seemed to slip under the wire of foreknowledge and intent, include the $37,125 one-day profit the senator made from the purchase of a classic pump-and-dump IPO through Stratton Oakmont, a brokerage house that was subsequently revealed to be corrupt and put out of business by the SEC. Although the Senate Ethics Committee seemed poised to punish him, D'Amato got off Teflon-clean after Sen. Mitch McConnell, the Darth Vader of the anti-campaign finance reform forces, blocked any action.

D'Amato's legendary ability to beat a succession of raps was of little help to another of his shady friends, nightclub operator Philip Basile, who was charged with conspiracy in a mob-connected case. After D'Amato testified as his sole character witness in 1983, Basile was convicted....

--Russ Baker in Newsday, 2002

In an apparent about-face, Sen. Alfonse D'Amato, R-N.Y., chairman of the Senate's Special Whitewater Committee, now says "there are some open questions" relating to the death of Vincent Foster that will eventually be reviewed by his committee. Foster, then deputy White House Counsel, died just over two years ago of a gunshot wound to the head, according to the U.S. Park Police.

"There is no doubt the initial investigation was botched," D'Amato told Charlie Rose, criticizing the park police's handling of the case on Rose's national television program earlier this week.

"His clothing was contaminated. The question as to, Where did he die? Did he have various stains on his clothes that would indicate that maybe the body was moved?" D'Amato said....

--Newsmax, August 19, 1995

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