The $53,000 tax lien against campaign spokesman Michael Caputo unearthed by the Times got a taunting "so what" from Caputo himself. Stiffing the IRS just proved again, as Caputo put it, that this is "a campaign of junkyard dogs."
No wonder Caputo, Carl, and the rest chat so comfortably with Duke, the untethered pit bull that accompanies Paladino on baby-kiss-free campaign swings. "Carl knows each of us comes to the campaign with warts," Caputo continued, acknowledging even that the candidate "has his own" warts. "We don't hide anything."
Actually, the so-called disclosure forms that People for Paladino filed with the State Board of Elections were designed to hide a lot, in apparent violation of state law.
Most hidden was the viral hand of the man who manufactured Paladino but never directly appears on his campaign filings, Roger Stone, the infamous Republican dirty trickster who suggested to the Times in August that he was advising Paladino pro-bono, which literally means "for the public good."With a tattoo of Richard Nixon's head on his back, Stone's scandals started with Watergate, when he was 19, and peaked in 1996 when ads he placed in Local Swing Fever picturing himself and his wife seeking "athletes and military men" cost him a key role in Bob Dole's presidential campaign. He reached legendary proportions in a New Yorker profile in 2008 subtitled "Campaign tips from the man who's done it all," lodged over a bare-chested photo of a smug Stone, who'd described himself as "handsome body builder husband" in that long-ago ad.