From the Daily News:
When some New York politicians find themselves facing corruption charges, they don’t have to worry about how to pay for a high-priced defense attorney — because they know they can just open up their campaign checkbooks.
Just ask Carl Kruger.
The admitted crook nearly drained his entire campaign war chest trying to save his hide — dropping $1.42 million in campaign funds on big shot criminal defense lawyer Benjamin Brafman, according to the latest state campaign finance filings.
State elected officials by law are not supposed to use campaign cash for purposes “unrelated to a political campaign or the holding of a public office or party position.”
But the state has allowed them to spend it on criminal defense lawyers — a legal interpretation that perverts a donor’s intent when they write a check for campaign dough, argued Susan Lerner, director of the nonpartisan watchdog group, Common Cause/New York.
“When contributors give to a candidate, they want to support the candidate in his election campaign — not pay for his defense against fraud charges,” she charged.
Other states require candidates to form defense committees, making clear to donors where their money will end up.