The Campaign Spot

It’s Time for Dede Scozzafava and Her False Police Report to Go

When a candidate commits a crime, the usual bonds of loyalty that a party requires are severed. When Sen. Larry Craig got caught in the airport restroom, Mitt Romney threw him off his campaign team. When Rod Blagojevich was arrested, every Democrat who had endorsed him and re-endorsed him ceased any sense of support.
You can call this throwing someone under the bus, but there’s a difference between severing a tie over political inconvenience and severing it over criminal behavior. If your friend committed a serious crime, you might end the friendship; even if you didn’t, you would probably express some disapproval.
In New York, Dede Scozzafava – or, more specifically, her husband — has, at least on the face of events, filed a false police report when he called the cops on Weekly Standard reporter John McCormack.
I refer you to New York state law:

S 240.50 Falsely reporting an incident in the third degree.
A person is guilty of falsely reporting an incident in the third

degree when, knowing the information reported, conveyed or circulated to

be false or baseless, he:

  1. Initiates or circulates a false report or warning of an alleged

occurrence or impending occurrence of a crime, catastrophe or emergency

under circumstances in which it is not unlikely that public alarm or

inconvenience will result; or

  2. Reports, by word or action, to an official or quasi-official agency

or organization having the function of dealing with emergencies

involving danger to life or property, an alleged occurrence or impending

occurrence of a catastrophe or emergency which did not in fact occur or

does not in fact exist; or

  3. Gratuitously reports to a law enforcement officer or agency (a) the

alleged occurrence of an offense or incident which did not in fact

occur; or (b) an allegedly impending occurrence of an offense or

incident which in fact is not about to occur; or (c) false information

relating to an actual offense or incident or to the alleged implication

of some person therein; or

  4. Reports, by word or action, to the statewide central register of

child abuse and maltreatment, as defined in title six of article six of

the social services law, an alleged occurrence or condition of child

abuse or maltreatment which did not in fact occur or exist.
Falsely reporting an incident in the third degree is a class A misdemeanor.

It’s not just bad taste, or stupid, or silly for Scozzafava to call the cops, hoping they’ll shoo away a reporter who is asking her questions she doesn’t want to answer. It is, depending on the discretion of the prosecutor, a potential crime. Cops who respond to false claims of crimes can’t be elsewhere, where perhaps real crimes are being committed.

The maximum penalty for a class A misdemeanor is one year in jail. Should Dede Scozzafava or her husband go behind bars for this? Probably not, but she ought to have the decency to withdraw from the race for Congress. Those who so casually break laws should have no role in writing them.

UPDATE: My, what a strange coincidence. It seems that the egregiousness of Scozzafava’s behavior has prompted similar sentiments at RedState, RedCounty, the Washington Examiner, the Washington Times, Ace of Spades, and perhaps other places before the day is done. Why, it’s almost as if the natural response to a candidate attacking one conservative journalist was to spur all of them to unite to make that candidate’s life miserable or something.

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