From City & State:
Brooklyn Sen. Martin Golden has steered at least $770,000 in taxpayer funds to a nonprofit neighborhood group he founded, which often used the money to sponsor events that promoted the senator, records and interviews show.
The member-item spending went to the Bay Ridge-Bensonhurst Beautification and Preservation Alliance, which held a summer concert series and ran a free bus service for neighborhood seniors – both named for Golden.
The nonprofit’s executive director lobbied Golden last year about a bill the senator later introduced. Its main paid consultant for the concerts was also a paid staffer in Golden’s Senate office at the time. And Golden himself is still listed in state records as the nonprofit’s registered agent.
Golden’s top aides say the deep connection between the senator and the nonprofit poses no conflict, and also reflects an Albany custom of directing member items to groups linked with governmental staffers – at least until then-Attorney General Andrew Cuomo cracked down starting in 2007.