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Bello files ethics complaint against Dinolfo campaign for abusing taxpayer resources

Cheryl Dinolfo's campaign videographer using a government funded event as a stage for filming a campaign ad.

Rochester, NY - Adam Bello’s campaign for County Executive today filed a complaint with the Monroe County Office of Public Integrity (OPI) against Cheryl Dinolfo regarding her campaign’s use of taxpayer-funded resources to promote her political campaign. Most recently, Dinolfo appears to have used the County’s Salute to Seniors event as a backdrop for filming a video for her political campaign. The Salute to Seniors is organized by government employees in the Monroe County Office of Aging. Bello’s campaign also asked the OPI to investigate Dinolfo’s use of County produced video content on her campaign website.

“When Cheryl Dinolfo ran for County Executive, she promised us the most ethical government in the country,” said Bello Campaign Spokesperson Amy Grower. “Since then, Cheryl Dinolfo has not only failed to deliver on that promise, but she has also continued to abuse taxpayer dollars for her political benefit. Illegally waiving fees for friends and family and giving 125% pay raises to the family members of high-ranking officials in her administration is her norm. But using a government event meant to honor seniors as her personal stage for a political advertisement is inappropriate and a new low for an ethically-compromised administration.”

Dinolfo’s government videographer shot footage of Dinolfo at the Salute to Seniors, which showed her and her campaign videographer, Leigh Smith, using the event for political purposes. Smith was a longtime associate of the former GOP Chairman, the late Steve Minarik, and has produced commercials for Dinolfo’s 2015 County Executive race, former County Executive Maggie Brooks’ campaign, and numerous other Republican campaigns.

In addition to the politicizing of the Salute to Seniors event, Grower also asked the OPI to investigate Dinolfo’s use of videos and content produced by the Monroe County Department of Communications and its government employees on her campaign website. In most instances, these taxpayer-funded videos never appear on the County’s official website, yet the Dinolfo campaign website links back to these government produced videos on Youtube. Taken together,

this suggests a strategic, coordinated effort of using taxpayer funded and produced material to advance a political campaign.

“When you look at all of the things County government isn’t doing to help residents, it’s particularly offensive that taxpayers are paying government employee salaries, as well as for the video equipment and computer programs necessary to produce these materials, which is then being taken advantage of by her campaign. This abuse of government resources might give Ms. Dinolfo a first-class campaign website, but unfortunately, it doesn’t do anything for Monroe County taxpayers.”

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