Last week I criticized the Post. Today I’ll go after the News for an article in Sunday’s paper – “War Chests as Toy Chests”. The article claims state legislators are using their campaign accounts for “exotic travel, champagne lifestyles and personal pleasures”. And some of the examples, like Joe Bruno’s trip to Italy do sound like abuses. But many of the others sure look like legitimate expanses to me.
Assemblyman Richard Brodsky uses campaign money to buy meat that he then serves at a barbecue for his supporters. That’s clearly a campaign expense. The News complaint seems to be that he buys the meat while in Montana visiting his wife’s family.
Speaker Shelly Silver’s campaign pays for end of session and Xmas parties, presumably for legislators and staff. Does the News think he should pay for this obviously government related expanse out of his own pocket or would be better if he used government money?
Assemblyman Willis Stephens, Jr. sponsors an annual party for kids in his district. Is that an example of champagne lifestyles?
Senator Marty Connor leases a car. He reimburses his campaign when he uses it for personal uses. The News’ problem seems to be that the campaign pays for parking.
Assemblyman Peter Abbate reimburses his mother for food that is then served at parties for his campaign volunteers. Once again, I ask, what’s the problem? If the campaign wrote out the checks to the butcher, would it then be kosher enough for the News?
There are plenty of legitimate issues to attack New York pols about. But this seems to be a cheap shot to me.