Joe DioGuardi in 2010 N.Y. Senate Debates

On Principles & Values: Gillibrand had a 2-year tryout; now give me a 2-year tryout

Gillibrand said she wouldn't change the appointment process that made her an unelected U.S. Senator for nearly two years. Ms. Gillibrand was an upstate congresswoman when Gov. David Paterson picked her to fill the seat.

The two are competing to fill out the two years remaining on the Senate term of Hillary Clinton. "Sen. Gillibrand has had her two-year tryout and I believe she has flunked,'' DioGuardi said. "It's time to give Joe DioGuardi a two-year tryout.''

Source: Wall Street Journal coverage of 2010 N.Y. Senate debate Oct 22, 2010

On Jobs: Democrats have created a toxic environment for NY jobs

Gillibrand says she doesn't think it's possible to tell how many jobs a politician has created, adding, "The number one thing we should be doing to create jobs in this state--in this country right now--is getting access to capital into our small businesses."

DioGuardi counters, "Not only did you not create jobs, we've lost many jobs. You've got to be aggressive about what you do to change that and one of the things is: we're in a toxic environment in this state--mainly because of your party."

Source: Fox News 23 coverage of 2010 N.Y. Senate debate Oct 21, 2010

On Principles & Values: Accused of making deals in a $1.7 billion Ponzi scheme

DioGuardi accused Gillibrand of shilling for Big Tobacco, while Gillibrand expressed "serious questions" over reports that federal regulators were investigating his ties to a business deal.

"This is a complete fabrication & a misrepresentation of who I am," DioGuardi said. DioGuardi insisted he was merely a bit player in the deal described by a Gillibrand ad as a "Madoff-style $1.7 billion Ponzi scheme."

He returned fire by highlighting defense work Gillibrand did as an attorney for tobacco giant Philip Morris in the 1990s. "She was actually the architect of everything that company did to try to hide the fact that cigarettes cause cancer," he said.

"Your arguments are absolutely fantasy," Gillibrand scoffed. The senator characterized her tobacc work as something she got stuck with when she was "a junior associate in a big firm."

She pointed out that DioGuardi, too, had represented Big Tobacco, as an accountant. DioGuardi objected, and she shot back: "Oh, so you didn't choose your clients?"

Source: New York Post coverage of 2010 N.Y. Senate debate Oct 16, 2010

On Health Care: Purpose of reform should have been to reduce the cost

Gillibrand said she's concerned about insurance companies raising premiums before the changes kick in. "It doesn't really start until 2014, and I will tell you many insurers have raised their rates," Gillibrand said. "I want a full investigation."

DioGuardi said the health care law should be repealed and restructured to rein in spending. "The whole purpose of health care reform should have been to reduce the cost of health care," he said. "It did not."

Source: WNYC News coverage of 2010 N.Y. Senate debate Oct 15, 2010

On Immigration: Shut down the borders before we reform anything

Immigration reform was among the issues that drew sharp contrasts between Gillibrand and DioGuardi. DioGuardi said he supports legal immigration. "But it seems to me right now that I would not look to reform anything until we looked at the whole picture and until we shut down the borders," he said. "We cannot allow porous borders in America."

But Gillibrand said the time is ripe for comprehensive immigration reform. She defended her previous opposition to former Gov. Eliot Spitzer's plan to issue government IDs to undocumented immigrants, saying it's an issue best addressed on the federal level. "That is something I would certainly look into, and we want to make sure that folks have the ability to get an ID," Gillibrand said. "But it's best done in a comprehensive bill because these are all the issues that we need to actually address."

Source: WNYC News coverage of 2010 N.Y. Senate debate Oct 15, 2010

On Tax Reform: Extend Bush-era tax cuts, even for earners over $250K

DioGuardi called for the extension of Bush-era tax cuts, which are set to expire early next year. Gillibrand said she'd support an extension for those who earn under $250,000 a year, but not for top earners.
Source: WNYC News coverage of 2010 N.Y. Senate debate Oct 15, 2010

On Foreign Policy: Yes, I was a lobbyist; to fight Albanian genocide

GILLIBRAND TV AD CLAIM: A former congressman turned lobbyist.

DIOGUARDI REFUTATION: After leaving Congress, DioGuardi worked to end the genocide of Albanians in the former Yugoslavia. He traveled from safe house to safe house collecting documents that revealed the gruesome realities that were occurring; he shared these with Congress, and thereby qualifies as a lobbyist. While DioGuardi was fighting genocide, Gillibrand worked to help Philip Morris, and maintains strong ties with Big Tobacco.

Source: Albany Times Union coverage of 2010 N.Y. Senate debate Oct 6, 2010

On Government Reform: In Congress, served as president of Truth In Government

GILLIBRAND TV AD CLAIM: A record of wasteful government spending, special interest junkets and trips.

DIOGUARDI REFUTATION: Joe fought to cut spending and increase accountability in Congress as president of Truth In Government. During his time in Congress, Joe used his experience as a CPA to push for reforms to the government budgeting system to reduce spending, cut waste, and increase accountability. Joe recommended ending wasteful duplicative practices in the 200 government agencies by adopting uniform accounting systems. Joe also fought to change the government's current cash-basis (one-year) accounting system to an accrual system--which businesses are required to use. He sponsored legislation to create a chief financial officer within the Treasury to increase oversight of U.S. government spending. As President of Truth in Government, Joe has worked to strengthen our country's financial foundation by promoting accountability and transparency in Congressional spending and reporting.

Source: Albany Times Union coverage of 2010 N.Y. Senate debate Oct 6, 2010

On Government Reform: 1987: Voted NO on Congress pay raise; donated his to charity

GILLIBRAND TV AD CLAIM: He even voted himself his own congressional pay raise.

DIOGUARDI REFUTATION: The vote cited in Gillibrand's ad was an omnibus spending bill. During the floor debates, DioGuardi did vote for the elimination of the 3% pay increase for Congress, which passed. As a fiscal conservative, however, DioGuardi voted against the big-spending bill even though it would eliminate a 3% pay increase. When Congress did receive a pay raise, DioGuardi chose to donate his to charity.

[As reported in AP & UPI, 4/1/87]: "Here are 12 senators and 56 representatives who have refused to accept a $12,100 pay raise, according to consumer advocate Ralph Nader.. NY Reps. Joseph DioGuardi & George Wortley, Republicans.. Those donating their raises to charity, are: . Joseph DioGuardi, R-NY..."

In reality, it was Gillibrand who voted to raise congressional pay. Just last year, senator gillibrand voted to kill legislation to end automatic pay raises for members of congress. (S.Amdt. 621, 3/10/09)

Source: Albany Times Union coverage of 2010 N.Y. Senate debate Oct 6, 2010

On Tax Reform: Fined by IRS in 1978 for deducting commodity spreads

GILLIBRAND TV AD CLAIM: DioGuardi was caught cheating on his taxes.

DIOGUARDI REFUTATION: The year prior to the IRS filing against DioGuardi, the treatment of commodity spreads--which was a practice that was commonly used and recommended by leading accountant firms in the 1970s--was amended. When his family filed their taxes that year, the updated law was not realized.

At that time, taxpayers were subject to a punitive top tax rate of 70%--and Joe sought to protect his family from over-taxation. The tax system was broken, and like many Americans, Joe took steps to reduce his tax burden.

The challenge to the DioGuardi tax return was the result of a new ruling issued by the IRS that changed the treatment of commodity spreads--it had not been a longstanding tax law. The IRS challenged the DioGuardi family tax return in 1978. In the previous year, the IRS issued a ruling that it would no longer accept a tax deduction for losses sustained on those trades. (The Washington Post , 12/21/80)

Source: Albany Times Union coverage of 2010 N.Y. Senate debate Oct 6, 2010

The above quotations are from 2010 N.Y. Senate Debates.
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Joe DioGuardi on other issues:
Civil Rights
Foreign Policy
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Govt. Reform
Gun Control
Health Care
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Page last updated: Nov 01, 2010