Chris Lee's 'mistake' making headlines this morning
It looks like both the Chris Lee and Alice Kryzan campaigns were busy yesterday trading shots over revelations that Lee was fired from a job in 1989 for allegedly hacking into his employer's computers (we say "allegedly" because Lee has only admitted to a "mistake" not the specific act).
Lee's campaign manager Nick Langworthy told WROC that revelations of his boss's dismissal was just a smear from the Alice Kryzan campaign.
"If there's one thing that can be learned from this 11th hour stunt, it's that Alice Kryzan is willing to say and do anything to elected to congress."
Kryzan responded by saying, "I was even more disappointed to hear that rather than admit the gravity of his actions, he instead once again, attacked me and my campaign."
Lee took up the charge against the Kryzan campaign himself when speaking with the Buffalo News:
Asked about the incident on Saturday, Lee said: “It’s not a commentary on my character. I was a young man, I made a mistake, I broke a company policy, I recognized that, I was let go, and I moved on and turned out to have a successful career.”
Lee pinned the revelation about his firing on his opponent — even after being told that e-mails detailing his firing arrived at The Buffalo News independently of the Kryzan campaign.
“It’s frustrating that three days outside the election there’s a desperate attack by Alice, who’s down in the polls, to continue to smear my name,” Lee said.
Lee spoke shortly after Kryzan tore into him at a news conference, saying he was ducking responsibility for his own failings.
“He has made this an issue in this campaign by blaming me for his bad behavior. I didn’t tell him to hack into his employer’s computer system,” said Kryzan, who added: “This issue speaks to Chris Lee’s basic integrity.”
The theme was repeated in the Democrat & Chronicle:
"Chris Lee's first response was to blame me," said Kryzan, 60, during a news conference at her headquarters in Williamsville, Erie County. "Be very clear about this, I did not tell Chris Lee to hack into his employer's computer system for his own personal gain. I did not tell Chris Lee to break the rules."
When reporters caught up with Lee, 44, at a Republican rally in Amherst, he said he did not gain financially from his "mistake."
"I broke a company policy. I've gone on and had a very successful career creating jobs," he said. "Unfortunately there's this desperate attack three days out. ... That's frustrating when I'm trying to do something positive for this community."
Lee's campaign, without Lee present, held its own news conference outside Kryzan's headquarters immediately following Kryzan's news conference. His campaign brought supporters waving campaign signs.
"Alice Kryzan knows that the voters of western New York are prepared to reject her job-killing agenda," said Lee's campaign manager, Nick Langworthy.
It's disappointing that to this point Chris Lee has failed to come forward with a full and transparent accounting of his actions at Ingram Micro. Lee and Langworthy are dragging themselves down into the mud by trying to turn this revelation into an attack on Kryzan. It's a smoke screen and completely irrelevant to Lee's responsibility to tell the voters the full story before Tuesday. If he isn't willing to do that, how can he possibly be a trustworthy representative of Western New York?
UPDATE: Buffalo Pundit live blogged the radio debate between Kryzan and Lee this morning. No mention of the "mistake."
UPDATE II: Here's Buffalo Bean's assessment of the debate.