Findings in the Complaints of Terrance Murphy, Republican Candidate for the NYS Senate, District 40, Against Alison Boak, Democratic Candidate for the Same Senate Seat

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The Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee met on October 20, 2016 to hear the complaints of Terrence Murphy, Republican candidate for the New York State Senate, District 40, against Alison Boak, Democratic candidate for the same Senate seat. State Senator Murphy was represented by Chris Arnold. Ms. Boak was represented by Liz Shollenberger, Chandler Bellanca, and Andrew Willis.

COMPLAINT: Terrence Murphy complains that Alison Boak gave the false and misleading impression that she is an incumbent on her website, signs, and campaign materials by using the phrase,

“Alison Boak
New York State Senate”

The FCPC guidelines state that, “A candidate should not create the false impression that she/he is an incumbent.” Inserting the word “for” or “elect” before “New York State Senate” would have provided clarity.

COMPLAINT: Terrence Murphy complains that Alison Boak falsely stated on Facebook and Twitter: “Millions of lost jobs, worst housing crisis in decades, rampant greed. Trump and Terrence Murphy call it business. Our families know better #truth.”

No proof was provided.

COMPLAINT: Terrence Murphy complains that Alison Boak gave the false and misleading impression that he voted against the Child Victims Act and that he voted against removing the statute of limitations on cases of sexual assault against children.

FINDING:  Unfair
No votes were recorded.


Members: Susan P. Guma, [Chair], Miriam Cohen [Coordinator], Paul C. Atkinson, Nick Beilenson, Elizabeth Bermel, Gisele Castro, Daniel S. Franklin, Jr., Victor J. Goldberg, LaRuth Gray, Joan Grangenois-Thomas, Lee Kinnally, Robert C. Kirkwood, Polly Kuhn, Carole Princer Levy, Philip M. Maley, Harry Phillips III, Joy Rosenzweig, Susan Schwarz, Evelyn M. Stock.

Party representatives (ex officio): Republican Party, Democratic Party, Conservative Party, Working Families Party, Independence Party, Green Party, Reform Party                                  

The purpose of the Westchester Fair Campaign Committee is to promote a climate in which candidates conduct honest and fair campaigns. The Committee encourages candidates to conduct campaigns openly and fairly, to discuss issues, to refrain from dishonest and defamatory attacks, and not to use campaign materials that distort the facts.

The Committee does not sit as a censor of political discussion nor as a body to enforce election law or make legal decisions. Its task is to accept written complaints about alleged unfair campaign practices and to determine whether the action complained about is indeed unfair. Among other things, the Committee will consider to be unfair any campaign practice that is a misstatement of a material fact or that misleads the public.

The Committee has no power to compel anyone to stop doing what it has found to be unfair. If the Committee acts on a complaint, it will release its findings to inform the public. The Committee may choose not to consider a complaint; in that case, a hearing is not held and the parties to the complaint are notified.

Statement of Principles of the Committee, as stated in its Manual, is available at The Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee believes that candidates should conduct their campaigns in accordance with the following principles:

  • The candidate will conduct a campaign for public office openly and fairly. The candidate will discuss the issues and participate in fair debate with respect to her/his views and qualifications.
  • The candidate will neither engage in nor be involved with unfair or misleading attacks upon the character of an opponent, nor will the candidate engage in invasions of personal privacy unrelated to fitness for office.
  • The candidate will not participate in or condone an appeal to prejudice.
  • The candidate will neither use nor be involved with the use of any campaign material or advertisements that misrepresent or distorts the facts.          
  • The candidate will clearly identify by name the source of all advertisements and campaign literature published and distributed.
  • The candidate will not abuse the Westchester County Fair Campaign Practices Committee process in order to obtain political advantage.
  • The candidate will publicly repudiate materials or actions from any individual or group that would violate the Statement of Principles.