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GOP chair accuses Dems of taking illegal donation

Schenectady County's GOP Chairman Tom Buchanan is accusing county Democrats of accepting an illegal $5,000 donation from a Canadian prescription drug company.

The accusation stems from a donation on Oct. 22 by CanaRx Services, Inc., a Tecumseh, Ontario-based company, to the Schenectady County Democratic Committee.

Buchanan said he'll contact the Federal Elections Commission and the U.S. Attorney General's Office, urging them to launch an independent investigation into the fundraising practices of county Democrats. He alleges that accepting the CanaRx donation violates the McCain-Feingold Law. The law bars any national, state or local committee from accepting campaign contributions from foreign companies or foreign nationals.

In a press release, Buchanan said that the donation was an example of the Democrats' pay to play mindset. Buchanan called for the money to be returned in a press release sent to media outlets on Wednesday, Feb. 13.

"I'm also expecting the investigation will lead to fines and penalties," said Buchanan, who is also an attorney.

An official in the press office of the FEC said a complaint had not yet been filed by Buchanan as of press time.

County Democratic Chairman Brian Quail said he was under the impression that CanaRx was a Michigan-based company that specialized in Canadian prescriptions. Quail also said the mistake could have been a clerical error.

"We're committed to ensure oversight," he said. "We're not trying to cover anything up."

A CanaRx official said the company has a post office box in Detroit but is based in Canada.

"If we made an error, we will refund the donation," said Quail, "but Mr. Buchanan is in no position to be making accusations about financial disclosures. He's throwing stones in a glass house."

Quail charges county Republicans with a number of delinquent filings of their mandatory financial disclosures. While Republican officials admit to being late with their filings, they said their tardiness was the result of changes within the committee.

"Basically we're broke," said Buchanan. "We have nothing to hide."

County spokeswoman Theresa Cassiack said approximately 800 active employee and 400 retirees are enrolled in the county's Canadian drug program offered through CanaRx, which began in December 2004.

The program covers general prescriptions and has accounted for approximately $3 million in savings for the county in the past three years. ""

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