Congressmember Dan Donovan has publicly denied allegations in a New York Post article published late Saturday evening, March 31 claiming that the Bay Ridge and Staten Island pol once used his position to “get [his] baby mama’s son out of a heroin bust.”
This never happened, according to Donovan, a Republican who is running for re-election and is already engaged in a heated primary race against his predecessor, Michael Grimm, who gave up the seat in January, 2015, after pleading guilty to tax evasion and other federal charges and served seven months of an eight-month sentence in prison. The accusations, former Staten Island D.A. Donovan said, are just “dirty politics.”
“Like so many families in our community, mine has also been dealing with a loved one’s addiction. Our struggle has been private until today,” the pol wrote in a Facebook post Sunday afternoon. “This anonymous attack on my family two months before an election is based entirely on one person’s 100 [percent] false accusations. This case followed standard procedure to the tee.”
He held a press conference Monday, April 2 at his New Dorp office to stand with his family and denounce the claims.
“To use our family and the addictions that so many people are going through with their own families for political gain is disgusting, outrageous, and the public should know about it,” he said.
The Post story references an anonymous complaint filed with the Office of Congressional Ethics, alleging that the congressmember in December, 2015 – just months after being sworn in – visited the 122nd Precinct and used his position to request illegally that officers go easy on Timothy O’Connell – the son of Donovan’s longtime girlfriend — who’d been taken in and charged with heroin possession, issuing him a desk appearance ticket instead of abiding by normal arrest protocols.
This so-called visit never happened, Donovan said, and O’Connell – who was taken in for possession of 0.05 grams of heroin – was not given any special treatment.
“My partner’s son was charged with the crime for which he was arrested, and the police followed the arrest procedure that’s in writing in the NYPD’s own guide. There’s nothing special about it,” Donovan explained on Facebook, sparing no details of O’Connell’s arrest (which, the pol went on to say, was his first). “A desk appearance ticket is standard procedure for a first arrest with such a small quantity of drugs. You don’t need to take my word for it – the NYPD’s patrol guide has a 25-page section explaining when and when not to issue a desk appearance ticket. This case is fully in line with NYPD’s written procedures.”
Grimm – who, Donovan’s office claims in a press release sent Tuesday “didn’t deny” his involvement in the “false attack involving [Donovan’s] family member’s addiction struggle” – told NY1 that he didn’t file the complaint (a statement, Grimm’s camp contends, that was made prior to the Donovan’s press release being sent).
Now, Donovan is calling on his opponent for the GOP nomination to update the public on the status of the complaint against his campaign filed with the Federal Election Committee (FEC) for failing to disclose campaign funding, among other “real ethics scandals.”
Grimm’s campaign blasted his opponent’s rebuttal.
“Dan Donovan’s endless lies only reflect the desperate state of his campaign and are a sorry attempt to distract voters from his anti-Trump voting record in Congress to protect sanctuary cities, refusal to repeal Obamacare, and his co-sponsoring two amnesty bills for illegal aliens,” a campaign spokesperson told this paper. “Desperate Dan can deflect all he wants, but he’ll never run away from the fact that he has zero substantive pieces of legislation signed into law while Michael Grimm built an irrefutable record of delivering results for Staten Island and Brooklyn.”
Furthermore, the spokesperson told this paper that all of the questions raised in Donovan’s Tuesday press release – including those surrounding the FEC complaint – have already been addressed.
In the meantime, Donovan said Monday that he would release his phone records and schedule to prove his non-involvement in O’Connell’s arrest and process.
Donovan’s Facebook post – which has seemed to receive support from constituents on both sides of the aisle – was met also with pleas to use his circumstances as a platform to tackle the opioid epidemic (which is especially prominent in his district) head on.
“It’s outrageous that a young man’s struggle with addiction would be used to try and sully my reputation to score points in the heat of an election. We have seen this disgusting behavior in politics so many times, but this is a new low,” Donovan concluded on Facebook. “Shame on my opponent for making up lies and exploiting someone’s personal struggle.”