News Column

Financial disclosure reports reveal personal assets of Democratic candidate Aaron Woolf

July 22, 2014

By Daniel Flatley, Watertown Daily Times, N.Y.

July 22--WATERTOWN -- A U.S. House-mandated financial disclosure report filed by Aaron G. Woolf, a Democrat running for New York's21st Congressional District seat, reveals a lengthy accounting of considerable personal assets.

In 26 pages of filings, Mr. Woolf discloses assets, including stocks, bonds, mutual funds and real estate holdings, worth several million dollars.

The precise amount of Mr. Woolf's wealth is difficult to determine given reporting guidelines, which require candidates to report assets within several ranges, from $1 to $1,000 to more than $50 million.

While many of Mr. Woolf's holdings fall in the lower end of the spectrum, he disclosed 13 positions in companies, private equity partnerships and hedge funds in the $500,000 to $1 million dollar range.

Companies in his portfolio include the Altria group, parent company of tobacco manufacturer Philip Morris, and the McDonald's Corp.

By contrast, filings by Mr. Woolf's Republican opponent, Elise M. Stefanik, include bank accounts of less than $50,000 and part ownership of a Washington, D.C., property.

Mr. Woolf is a documentary filmmaker with a home in Elizabethtown. He is also co-owner of an organic grocery store and restaurant in Brooklyn. His 2007 documentary, "King Corn," is about the pervasiveness of corn in the agricultural economy and fast-food industry in the U.S.

Mr. Woolf's wife, Carolyn B. Sicher, is a psychologist working in childhood trauma and traumatic grief at Mount Sinai hospital in New York City. She is a granddaughter of Edgar M. Cullman Sr., president, chairman and CEO of the General Cigar Co.

According to the filing, his earned income for the past two years amounts to just over $15,600, including a salary from Mosaic Films, the company that produced "King Corn," and residuals and royalties from other projects. His spouse's salary is not listed.

Mr. Woolf has donated $400,000 to his campaign since entering the race in February.

Ms. Stefanik reported a salary of $24,000 thus far in 2014 and $61,200 in 2013 from Premium Plywood Products in Guilderland, a plywood distribution company owned by her family, according to her financial disclosure report.

Ms. Stefanik, a 2006 Harvard graduate, worked in the George W. Bush White House and as director of debate preparation for Rep. Paul Ryan during his vice presidential campaign. On June 24 she defeated three-time candidate Matthew A. Doheny in the Republican primary. Outside groups, including American Crossroads, a super PAC co-founded by Bush adviser Karl Rove, spent more than $1.2 million supporting Ms. Stefanik and opposing Mr. Doheny in the race.

Ms. Stefanik's financial disclosure report, which is seven pages long, includes bank accounts and certificates of deposit in the $1,000 to $15,000 range and a CD in the $15,000 to $50,000 range, and a residential rental property in Washington, D.C., of which she is a part owner, along with her parents. Her share in the property is valued at $250,000 to $500,000.

Mr. Woolf's campaign cast his financial disclosure as a testament to Mr. Woolf's honesty and his commitment to the north country. "Aaron believes in openness and transparency in all that Congress does," said Mr. Woolf's campaign manager, Stuart Rosenberg. "That is why he won't take taxpayer-funded congressional perks and why he was extremely thorough in his Financial Disclosure Statement. Aaron Woolf will make creating jobs and improving the economy here in the north country his top priority. Aaron and his family look forward to continuing to meeting residents and discussing how he will work with the residents of the 21st Congressional District to help bring the region's spirit of independence, practicality, and hard work to Washington."

Ms. Stefanik's campaign characterized Mr. Woolf's resources as making him out of touch with north country voters. "One measure of a campaign's strength is the depth and reach of its financial support. Elise has raised more than every candidate in this race -- both in the general and in the primary, because her message about bringing new ideas and new leadership to Washington is working," said Charlotte Guyett, campaign press secretary. "Elise has had a tremendous response since the primary and will have the resources she needs to wage a vigorous campaign. It is clear that multimillionaire Aaron Woolf will self-fund his race, but he will come to understand that north country voters are not for sale, and no amount of inherited wealth will change that."

Matthew J. Funiciello, the Green Party candidate in the race, filed a statement in May notifying the clerk of the U.S. House of Representatives that his campaign had not yet raised or spent money in excess of the $5,000 threshold that mandates candidates file a financial disclosure report.

To view Mr. Woolf's disclosure form, visit To view Ms. Stefanik's disclosure form, visit


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Source: Watertown Daily Times (NY)

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