New York Gubernatorial Candidate Marc Molinaro is crying foul.
Molinaro, who is a Republican, accused New York Governor Andrew Cuomo of breaking federal law. He said the governor violated education privacy laws by using students who are receiving Excelsior Scholarships to take part in his re-election ads.
“You can’t help but feel slightly intimidated,” Molinaro said.
The Federal Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act generally protects the privacy of college students’ records. Molinaro said somehow the governor’s campaign got its hands on those records.
“It’s creepy. It’s coercive,” Molinaro said.
The Cuomo Campaign said Molinaro is playing political games and it did nothing wrong.
“We request any publicly available list of State of the State invitees. It is clear Trump Mini-Me Molinaro will do anything to distract from his failing campaign,” said Governor Andrew Cuomo's Campaign.
Alphonso David, Counsel to the Governor, released this statement to 7 Eyewitness News:
“Before throwing around legal conspiracy theories, County Executive Molinaro should read the law – or at least retain a lawyer who understands it. FERPA does not apply to State government - it only applies to educational institutions and there is no criminal or civil liability associated with the Act. Regardless, in this instance, the schools that provided this information did so with express permission of the students and therefore cannot be in violation of FERPA.”
At least one student has come forward to say he felt violated by a phone call he received from the Cuomo Campaign. Molinaro is now asking the U.S. Attorney to investigate the governor.