From the Daily News:
The explosion of Capitol corruption scandals in recent years has turned a bunch of campaign accounts into legal defense funds.
Twenty elected officials since 2004 spent a combined $6.78 million on legal fees related to criminal and ethical investigations against them, a Daily News/New York Public Interest Research Group analysis shows.
The list has included some of the most powerful elected officials in Albany, including former Gov. David Paterson, convicted former Controller Alan Hevesi, former Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and pervy Assemblyman Vito Lopez.
In the past two years alone, state lawmakers spent nearly $2 million in campaign funds on legal fees, led by the $1.5 million paid by former state Sen. Carl Kruger. He’s serving seven years in federal prison after pleading guilty in 2011 to bribery and other corruption charges.
The state Board of Elections in a 1989 formal opinion ruled the use of campaign cash for lawyer bills is legal if the investigations are related to someone’s office or campaign.
Some lawmakers and government reformers say that needs to change.