Monday, November 24, 2008

Seminerio spent campaign cash on defense

Facing federal corruption charges, Assemblyman Anthony Seminerio has used $35,000 in campaign funds to help pay his legal fees, the Daily News has learned.

Seminerio's campaign cut the check to Rosedale lawyer Ira Cooper on Sept. 19, Board of Elections filings show.

Seminerio's campaign treasurer, Lisa Loughlin, confirmed the payment was for legal work connected to his arrest.

"According to a state Board of Elections ethics opinion, the expenditure is permissible," Loughlin said.

While not commenting specifically on Seminerio, state Board of Elections spokesman Robert Brehm said the board issued a formal opinion in 1989 allowing the use of campaign cash for legal fees if the charges are related to the holding of office or running of a campaign.

Embattled pol spends $35G in campaign cash to fight federal charges

Seminerio is not the first criminally charged state legislator to dip into his campaign account for legal fees.

- Former state Controller Alan Hevesi, who pleaded guilty to using state employees to chauffeur his wife, used at least $750,000 in campaign cash to pay his lawyers.

- Former Assemblyman Brian McLaughlin, who pleaded guilty to stealing more than $2 million, paid his lawyers $500,000 from his campaign coffers, but later refunded the money.

- Former state Sen. Guy Velella, who pleaded guilty to a felony charge of conspiracy to commit bribery in 2004, used $400,0000 from his campaign on legal fees.


Anonymous said...

Who will succeed Seminerio? I have a feeling that the Democratic Party owes a favor to a certain local lawyer who stepped aside for Addabbo. You know who I'm talking about.

This choice may also distract from the Seminerio scandal by bringing in a new face of change.

Anonymous said...

Seminerio's lawyer must be required to refund the fee. Nobody should be permitted to profit from an illegal act.

Anonymous said...

The time has come for an independent minded reformer to take this seat. The demographics have changed considerably, and Al Baldeo, whose professional family has deep roots in this district, should be given the chance to make a difference.

Anonymous said...

Seminerio went to the Serf Maltese school of campaign spending. For years Maltese treated his campaign funds as his personal spending account.