Political Corruption Donation Reform Is In Sight

Corruption reports lead to demands for reform

Political Corruption Donation Reform Is In SightIt took back-to-back corruption scandals to turn campaign finance reform into the hottest issue in Albany. Now maybe a few good-government reports can give Board of Elections enforcement it’s own 15 minutes of fame.

On May 7, a day after Citizens Union released a report accusing the state BOE of not keeping track of political clubs’ finances, New York Public Interest Research Group reported that candidates for office had violated the state’s campaign finance laws 103,805 times over the last two years.

Many of the violations were minor, like donations and expenditures with missing addresses and dates, and late filings. But some were more serious.

In 2012, there were 278 instances of corporations giving more than the allowed $5,000 to political campaigns.

Among the biggest offenders highlighted in the report were campaigns for former state Sen. Pedro Espada and former state Sen. Hiram Monserrate — both of whom have now been convicted of crimes in New York State.

New Yorkers for Espada’s last filing showed $290,556 in campaign funds for the 2010 primary he lost to state Sen. Gustavo Rivera.

The group never filed a “no activity” statement — which is required if a campaign ceases to raise or spend money — and it is unclear where the money went or whether it was spent on campaign-related activities. Another committee, this one for Mr. Espada’s 2008 campaign, has also not filed the required statements. The last filing shows $62,593 in its coffers.

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