|Dennis C. Vacco|
Vacco in March, 2015
|62nd New York State Attorney General|
January 1, 1995 – December 31, 1998
|Preceded by||G. Oliver Koppell|
|Succeeded by||Eliot Spitzer|
August 16, 1952 |
Buffalo, New York, U.S.
|Residence||Buffalo, New York|
|Alma mater||Colgate University
University at Buffalo Law School
Dennis C. Vacco (born August 16, 1952) is an American lawyer and politician. He graduated with a B.A. from Colgate University in 1974, a J.D. from the University at Buffalo Law School in 1978, and was admitted to the bar in 1979.
Vacco was born in Buffalo, New York, and was raised in Western New York State.
As Erie County Assistant District Attorney
As New York State Attorney General
Vacco was New York State Attorney General from January 1, 1995 to December 31, 1998.
In 1994, Vacco defeated Karen Burstein, the Democratic nominee. One week before the election, Staten Island Borough President Guy Molinari announced that Burstein was not qualified to serve as attorney general because she was a lesbian. The combination of Molinari's remarks, a strong national Republican showing, and the win of George Pataki in the governor's race, led to Vacco narrowly defeating Burstein. The New York Times called Molinari's remarks, "gutter politics."
Vacco brought national attention through a series of prosecutions brought against ISPs, including Dreamscape Online for distributing child pornography. The principal defendant, Buffnet, eventually pled guilty to a charge of fourth degree facilitation of a felony and was fined $5,000.
Vacco played a prominent role in Mayor Rudy Giuliani's attempt to require Time Warner Cable to carry the Fox News Channel. An attempt by Vacco to bring an anti-trust violation charge against Time-Warner failed.
As Attorney General, Vacco also argued the landmark assisted suicide case Vacco v. Quill before the United States Supreme Court. He successfully defended the state's ban on the practice, winning the case by a 9–0 vote.
In 1998, Vacco was defeated in his bid for re-election by future New York Governor Eliot Spitzer by approximately 0.6% of the total votes cast. He is the only attorney general since 1925 not be re-elected to a second term.
Vacco's electoral history has been tracked, online, at Our Campaigns, and it has been reflected here.
|New York Attorney General Election 1998|
|Republican||Dennis Vacco (inc.)||2,059,762||47.62||-1.66|
|Right to Life||Robert W. Dapelo||60,399||1.40||-.36|
|Libertarian||Daniel A. Conti, Jr.||19,864||.46||+.05|
|Green||Johann L. Moore||18,984||.44|
|New York Attorney General Election 1994|
|Democratic||Karen S. Burstein||2,206,188||47.38||-1.90|
|Independence||Thomas M. Hartman||37,500||0.81||-48.47|
|Right to Life||Alfred I. Skidmore||85,649||1.84||-47.44|
- Also in this election, Nancy Rosenstock received 13,416 votes (0.29%) for the Socialist Workers Party.
- Vacco also ran on both the Conservative Party of New York and Tax Cut Now tickets in this election.
After leaving the Attorney General's office, Vacco was a lobbyist in New York State. He was identified as having made inconsistencies in filings that he made in that position. In April 2006, after a six-month investigation, Vacco was cleared of allegations that he violated lobbying regulations in New York State. The investigation "centered on whether Vacco’s firm had an illegal contingency-fee contract with a Rochester businessman in exchange for helping him win a casino deal with an Oklahoma tribe. In October 2005, Vacco’s lobbying firm agreed to pay the state $50,000 in connection with the questionable contract, but it was not required to admit wrongdoing."
After being a lobbyist, Vacco worked as Vice-President for New York Operations of Waste Management, Inc. In 2007, he was a member of former Erie County Executive Chris Collins' executive transition committee. An article in the New York Times of February 19, 1999, raised the issue of his joining Waste Management in a "Quid-pro-quo" arrangement in which he represented New York State against Waste Management in a negotiated anti-trust settlement. He moved to Waste Management several weeks after he negotiated a settlement with them for New York State. When asked about the apparent conflict, he replied that "I joined Waste Management because of the company's commitment to sound business practices and to being a good corporate citizen." In response to questions about the settlement and the job offer, Mr. Vacco said "Any interpretation or suggestion that this settlement - which included the United States Department of Justice - was connected to my employment by Waste Management - is preposterous and false."
- One candidate's lifestyle becomes other's ax to grind, Chicago Tribune, Chicago, IL: Tribune Newspaper, 17 October 1994, Quindlen, A., Retrieved 11 November 2013
- Opinion: Guy Molinari, from the gutter The New York Times, New York, NY: The New York Times Company, 12 October 1994, Retrieved 11 November 2013
- ISP guilty in child porn case, Wired.com, New York, NY: Conde Nast, 16 February 2001, Sheeres, J., Retrieved 11 November 2013
- Vacco, Dennis, Our Campaigns, 1998 & 1994, Retrieved 8 January 2014.
- "Collins adds 10 to transition team". Buffalo News\Berkshire Hathaway (Buffalo, New York). 21 November 2007.
- "Collins adds 10 to transition team". McClatchy - Tribune Business News (Washington, DC). 21 November 2007.
- Mob boss' son boasted of hook in Albany, New York Post, New York, NY: The New York Post, 25 January 2007, Smith, K.C., Retrieved 25 April 2014.
- New York Times, Feb. 19, 1999 by Clifford J. Levy
- Lippes Mathias Wexler Friedman, LLP: Business Experience: Dennis Vacco, Lippes.com, Buffalo, NY, Retrieved 11 November 2013
- Watchdog report: Vacco's work on LDCs costs $167k, Democrat and Chronicle.com, Buffalo, NY: Gannett, 8 November 2013, Riley, D., Retrieved 11 November 2013
G. Oliver Koppell
|New York State Attorney General