GUEST: Fran Knapp, former Dutchess County Democratic Elections Commissioner, talks about local politics as well as the "partisan political warfare" at the Board of Elections.
Fran served six terms in the Dutchess County Legislature, and has worked for many years a leader of the County Democratic Caucus. She was employed for 10 years as the Democratic Elections Commissioner before being forced to resign in December of 2013. Fran was ultimaely charged with two misdemeanor violations. Was it a political coup or had she committed serious violations of state election law?
Fran was ordered to testify before a grand jury made up of Republican cronies, and then charged with over over 60 supposed violations. The Republican county executive, speaking on NPR, pronounced her "guilt" of serious violations before she was even tried, and the local newspaper ran scathing articles about her "corruption" without bothering to get her side of the story. What was worse, some Democrats who had cozied up to the Republican machine refused to back her, and the legal cost of defending herself was going to be at least $100,000.
Is our political process hopelessly corrupt, even at this local level? I felt sorry for Fran. She had given many years of her life to making voting registration fair, only to be dragged through the slime machine by the good old boy network of corrupt politicians and rubber stamp journalists.