Assemblyman Lavine Legislation Prevents Politicians From Using Campaign Money In Federal Indictment Cases

Lavine: “For too long New York State election laws have been called the most lax in our nation.”

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Assemblyman Charles Lavine announced today on the steps of the State Supreme Court Building in Nassau County new legislation that will prohibit elected officials/ candidates from using campaign funds for legal defense when under federal indictment.

Photo by: Office of Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine

Nassau County, NY - May 8, 2017 - Assemblyman Charles D. Lavine (D – Glen Cove) has introduced legislation (A5832) that will prevent the use of campaign funds to pay for any costs associated with a criminal defense in a federal indictment case including attorney fees.
 
“For too long New York State election laws have been called the most lax in our nation.” said Assemblyman Lavine. “Just in Nassau County over the past couple of years we have seen multiple indictments of public officials at every conceivable level of government, including County Executive Ed Mangano and Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos. These officials have all dipped into their campaign accounts to fund the criminal defense of their federal indictments to the tune of millions of dollars collectively. A campaign for elected office should not be a legal defense fund. Indicted officials like Mangano and Skelos have betrayed the very donors who expect their interests and beliefs to be represented in government. A recent proposal by the Republican majority in the Nassau County Legislature does not prevent unscrupulous behavior from happening. My legislation will close this lifeline to corrupt politicians and stop this criminal activity before it happens.”
 
“It’s important that campaign contributions be used for campaigning, not legal defense funds.” said Blair Horner, Executive Director of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG). “We urge lawmakers to support Assemblyman Lavine’s reform legislation.” Currently, New York election law has a very broad definition of the term “personal use” in regard to how campaign funds are spent making virtually any expenditure legal. According to the NYPIRG, state elected officials have spent well over $7 million in campaign funds on criminal defense since 2004.