U.S. Rep. Tim Bishop, of Southampton — who is currently in an election battle with St. James businessman Randy Altschuler — discussed current issues in the political scene in the latest episode of "The Hamptons Lutheran Parish."
Bishop denied that he inappropriately sought a contribution after the constituent asked for his assistance.
"It's really very simple," Bishop said. "A constituent asked me to help him get permits for a fireworks display because the fireworks company had not filed for the permits on a timely basis.
"Bringing various agencies of government together to get to the right answer is something that we do all the time. We were able to get it done, and that was it."
Bishop noted that the constituent in question, Eric Semler, denied in the original Politico report that he committed any wrong-doing.
Semler gave Bishop's campaign $5,000, but Bishop donated the money to veterans' organizations after the controversy arose, "out of an abundance of caution," his campaign said at the time.
"We are in unfortunately, the political season where charges fly and whether or not they are substantiated generally isn't as important as making the charge," Bishop told Foster.
Foster and Bishop also discussed the current debate over abortion.
"The notion that a women would have to carry the child of her rapist or have to carry the child that results from incest is extreme, and, as I say, I think it's cruel," Bishop said. "Choice is a legitimate issue on which reasonable people can disagree. My own view is that I am pro-choice but I share the formulation that President Clinton used, which is that abortion should be safe, legal and rare, and the emphasis on rare."
Other topics included tax credits, tax rates, and the national budget deficit.
Bishop said everything must be on the table when it comes to cutting the deficit, including defense and revenue, and there can be "no sacred cows" that are exempt from discussion.
"For people to talk about this process as if it's painless, as if it can be done as some sort of magical application of a formula is misleading the American people, and they deserve better," he said.
Altschuler has been invited to appear on the show at a future date, Foster said.