Sunday, April 27, 2008

COUNCILPERSON MARIA BAEZ HAS GAS



COUNCIL CAMPAIGN GUZZLES GAS & $$

April 27, 2008 --
RECORDS show that City Councilwoman Maria Baez (D-Bronx) withdrew $668.35 from her "Baez for the Future" fund to pay for 13 gas purchases between July 21 and Dec. 4.
On three occasions, the fuel was bought on successive days: $40 worth on Oct. 29, followed by a $35 fill on Oct. 30, $60 on Nov. 20, and then $50.05 on Nov. 21, and $50 and $65 on Dec. 3 and 4.

This isn't the first time Baez has used contributors' checks to beat high prices at the pumps.
In 2005, Baez's re-election campaign spent $2,700 on 66 visits to service stations.
And that's when gas prices averaged $2.30 a gallon, meaning Baez's campaign went through more than 1,100 gallons over five months.
Records indicate that Baez owns a 2001 Ford SUV. Even if it averaged just 15 miles a gallon, she could have driven back and forth to California three times on the gas her campaign bought in 2005.

Considering Baez had no Democratic primary opponent that year, it's not clear why she needed all that gasoline in a general election in which she received 12,072 votes, while her two little-known rivals together got 672.
It's equally unclear where the gas is going this election cycle.
Baez is term-limited, so she can't run for the council again. The only possible opening in The Bronx would come if state Sen. Efrain Gonzalez, under federal indictment for stealing $37,000 from a non-profit, loses his job.

Elected officials can do just about anything with their campaign funds, so authorities aren't likely to go poking around Baez's account.
"The bottom line in the city, state and Washington is that campaign funds are often used as personal piggy banks," said Baruch College's Doug Muzzio, a veteran political observer. "The laws governing their use are extraordinarily lax, and the oversight is extraordinarily lax."
Campaign records don't indicate how many vehicles were gassed up from Baez's campaign account or how they were used. Baez didn't return repeated calls.
Post a Comment