During the final weeks of the 2013 legislative session, Robert J. Rodriguez, a state assemblyman from Harlem, went out drinking with friends one night and was later arrested and charged with drunken driving. Mr. Rodriguez eventually pleaded guilty, losing his driver’s license for at least six months. But the monetary cost to Mr. Rodriguez was far less: His campaign not only picked up the roughly $8,500 in legal bills — it also paid his $900 penalty, records show. Mr. Rodriguez’s case, while extreme, is one of many examples where New York lawmakers have used campaign funds to pay for lawyers, often lawyers who specialize in criminal defense. The New York Times examined the spending of 41 elected officials who have been connected to a scandal or investigation since 2005; those 41 politicians have spent at least $7 million of campaign funds on legal fees, based on a review of Board of Elections filings from 2005 to the present.Full Article: Millions in Campaign Donations in Albany Go to Legal Fees - The New York Times.
Aug 5 2015