Tuesday, February 19, 2013

It's good to be state Sen. Malcolm Smith, who used $100G in campaign funds on lodging, meals, travel and entertainment last year

 

The former state Senate leader spent $20,000 at upscale restaurants like Le Cirque and Statler Grill in Manhattan and dumped $23,000 into a 'fundraiser' at a Long Island country club though he was uncontested in his run for reelection. Last summer, the News revealed he dumped $41,000 in campaign cash into trips to exotic locales such as Shanghai and the Breakers resort in Palm Beach.


Updated: Tuesday, February 19, 2013, 2:00 AM

























METRO: Senator Malcolm Smith, c. The New York Daily News and CUNY (City University of New York) officially kicked off the fifth day of its annual CITIZENSHIP NOW! Call in Center at the New CUNY School at 50 West 40th Street in Manhattan, today April 27, 2012. (Jeanne Noonan/for New York Daily News)

Jeanne Noonan/for New York Daily News

State Sen. Malcolm Smith, former majority leader of the state Senate, spent $100,000 in campaign funds on meals, lodging, travel and entertainment last year, the Daily News has learned.

ALBANY — Luxury hotels. Posh restaurants. Global travel. Maybe being a state senator isn’t so bad after all.
Sen. Malcolm Smith of Queens — a potential mayoral candidate — spent more than $100,000 in campaign funds last year on lodging, airfare, meals, car payments and other travel- and entertainment-related expenses, the Daily News has learned.
The News revealed last summer that the Democratic power broker drained more than $41,000 from his campaign kitty with visits to more than a dozen cities, from Shanghai to Saratoga Springs, golf at the exclusive Breakers resort in Palm Beach, Fla., and a “meeting” at Big Daddys liquors in West Palm Beach.
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But new campaign spending reports show that Smith’s spending reached into six figures last year.
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Feng Li/Getty Images

Last summer, the News revealed Smith expensed a trip to Shanghai to his campaign war chest.

The expenses included overnight stays around the state, from the Hotel Albany to Armonk’s La Quinta Inn; more than $4,500 in expenses at the Loews Regency Hotel on Park Avenue; $11,208 in car payments to GMAC, and nearly $20,000 in restaurant charges at such posh spots as Le Cirque and the Statler Grill in Manhattan.
Smith also spent $850 for a “campaign meeting” at a Saratoga Springs hotel last August at the height of the thoroughbred racing season.
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And Smith spent $23,000 on a “fundraiser” at the Cold Springs County Club on Long Island — even though he ran unopposed for reelection in 2012.
Smith spokesman Todd Shapiro insisted the expenses were “100% related” to Smith’s job as a senator and his campaign. Smith ran unopposed for reelection last year.
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He, Gary

Smith spent nearly $20,000 on meals on establishments such as the upscale Le Cirque in Manhattan.

“He’s a former majority leader and he travels all over the state on campaign-related business,” Shapiro said.
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“He doesn’t want to bill the taxpayers of New York for expenses when they are campaign-related.”
Shapiro said a large portion of Smith’s travel was related to the senator’s work as leader of a working group on high-speed rail formed by the National Conference of State Legislators.
The executive director of the good-government group Citizens Union, Dick Dadey, said the spending exposed the weakness of New York's campaign finance laws.
“Legislators are able to use these funds for anything they deem necessary for holding office and it shouldn’t be that way,” Dadey said. “It can be used inappropriately to fund a lavish lifestyle.”
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