SOMERS, N.Y. -- Somers resident and candidate for Congress Phil Oliva announced Wednesday that rival Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney has agreed to turn over video shot by a former campaign worker.
According to multiple media reports, the so-called “tracker,” Yougourthen Ayouni, was fired after admitting to contacting Oliva’s wife, Jessica, on Facebook and visiting the Olivas’ residence several times, once startling her by peering through a kitchen window.
Ayouni was recruited and trained by the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, multiple media reports said.
Maloney's office said Wednesday that it had asked the state Democratic Party, which it said employed Ayouni, to send any raw footage it has to Oliva.
"As I've said, this young man clearly crossed the line and while he never worked for our campaign, the New York State Democratic Party was right to fire him and they should send whatever they have over to Phil,” Maloney said.
Oliva, a Republican and senior political adviser for Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, is running in a June 28 primary against Kenneth Vecchio.
He hopes to challenge Maloney (D-Cold Spring) in the 18th Congressional District in November’s general election.
“Trackers” are commonly hired by political campaigns to record statements made by candidates at debates and public events in the hopes of dredging up controversial remarks.
Oliva had been asking for the video tapes out of concern that there was inappropriate footage of his children or wife taken at their home.
“I thank Sean for coming to this decision. I’m sure he thought of his own family and realized this was the right thing to do,” Oliva said.
He added that he didn’t know who “told this guy to do what he did but we’re hopeful this won’t happen again.”
Oliva said that both campaigns should forgo the practice of using “trackers.”
“I don’t like the practice. To me, trackers are used to harass and intimidate and that is incredibly cynical and I’d hope that Sean would agree, especially after this latest disaster,” he said. “Instead of trackers let’s just have a series of debates and discuss the real issues in a meaningful way and leave aside the political games and dirty campaign tactics.”
Oliva had threatened to sue if the tapes were not turned over voluntarily.
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