February 13, 2009
Running afoul of campaign finance rules seems to be something of a habit for Bronx Sen. Pedro Espada Jr.
The senator, who missed five state Board of Elections deadlines for filing campaign disclosure reports and also owed (as of November) $61,750 worth of penalties to the CFB in connection with his 2001 City Council run, has stumbled yet again - this time sending out a fundraising invite emblazoned with his official state Senate seal.
(Espada has since filed all of his reports for 2008, although the Jan. 15, 2009 filing has yet to appear on the board's Web site).
Using one's public office for political purposes is a big no-no.
Andrew Yong, Espada's chief of staff, immediately acknowledged the error when it was brought to his attention and said it will be fixed ASAP. He suggested the mistake was made by a new staffer who isn't yet aware of the campaign finance rules.
But Yong also suggested that this misstep is part of a broader issue that the entire Democratic conference is experiencing as members try to get used to their newfound majority status.
"We're staffing up fast, but things just need to be ironed out," Yong said. "Unfortunately, things like things slip through the cracks."