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Republicans Damaged By Tainted Money, Editorial, East Hampton Star, October 22, 2015

A red line that candidates for East Hampton Town elected office should not cross.

Support for outside commercial interests over home rule and the promise of meaningful noise control is a red line that candidates for East Hampton Town elected office should not cross. But Tom Knobel, Margaret Turner, and Lisa Mulhern-Larsen have been willing to finance their supervisor and town board campaigns largely with money from businesses and individuals seeking to block tough new aircraft limits.

By the most recent count, HeliFlite and related individuals, as well as a handful of pilots and airport businesses, have provided the Republicans with $115,000. It is difficult to see this as evidence of anything except a quid pro quo. However, Mr. Knobel, who is seeking the supervisor’s post, argued that the largess was only because the helicopter companies and others see him as having an “open mind.” We doubt voters are as credulous as Mr. Knobel might wish.

It is regrettable that the once-proud East Hampton Republican Party has come to this, taking money from outsiders who would put their corporate well-being ahead of the wishes of thousands of East Hampton residents for peace and quiet.

The Republican candidates may say what they will about all the other town issues and their qualifications for office, but by being financed almost entirely by airport-related donors, they have shown themselves sorely lacking in judgment and unfit for leadership. On the airport issue alone, Mr. Knobel, Ms. Turner, and Ms. Mulhern-Larsen are not likely to see wide support.

There is still time before Election Day for them to give back the tainted money and work to repair the damage, but not much. Voters should be watching closely in the campaign’s final days.

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