CANTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - A senior advisor to north country congresswoman Elise Stefanik called Friday for St. Lawrence County Elections Commissioner Jennie Bacon to resign.
In a statement, Alex Degrasse said Bacon, a Democrat, broke the law when she emailed a press release from the county’s Democratic Party using her work computer.
Bacon said what happened was an accident.
“The email sent on behalf of the NYS Election Commissioners Association inadvertently had the wrong attachment from an email I had recently received,” she said in an emailed statement.
“The correct document was then sent immediately. Both documents had been emailed to me, in a rush to get the email to the Association I inadvertently attached the wrong document,” she said.
Earlier this week, St. Lawrence County Democrats distributed a press release calling on Stefanik to quit congress in the wake of the events of January 6. In the press release, Democrats say Stefanik “lacks the responsibility and vision to properly represent her district and lead her supporters.”
Degrasse says Bacon sent a version of the press release to “the entire New York State Election Commissioners Association during work hours from a government computer. Then emailed a panicked “DISREGARD!” to the entire statewide Association.
“It is illegal to do political work during working hours as a taxpayer-funded government employee,” he said in his statement.
“The St Lawrence County Democrat election commissioner must resign immediately for breaking the law and an independent investigation should be launched so voters can have faith that the Democrats on the Board of Elections are following the law that makes clear it is illegal to do county party work using taxpayer-funded county government resources.”
But a top official with the State Elections Commissioners Association defended Bacon Friday.
“She didn’t break the law,” said Dustin Czarny, the chair of the Democratic Caucus of the Commissioners Association. “What’s next: are we gonna put people in jail for a typo?”
Czarny said “Commissioner Bacon has my full support and I hope Congresswoman Stefanik has as much zeal to defend our democracy, which has been under attack by the president she supports.”
7 News received a copy of the press release earlier this week, but it did not come from Bacon’s email address. It came from what appears to be the official email account of St. Lawrence County Democrats.
We reached out to county administrator Ruth Doyle, county attorney Stephen Button and the new leader of the county legislature, William Sheridan to find out whether any sort of investigation into the matter is underway. We’ll update this story if we hear back from any of them.