Former Brooklyn state Sen. Carl Kruger, in prison since June 2012 on bribery charges, gets $500 from California software giant Intuit
New York Daily News
December 8, 2013
ALBANY – New York’s campaign finance laws are so lax that even imprisoned lawmakers can still receive campaign donations.
Disgraced ex-state Sen. Carl Kruger, who has been in federal prison since June 2012 on bribery charges, received a $500 contribution from California software giant Intuit in April, according to state election records.
Kruger, a Brooklyn Democrat, is one of dozens of former – and even deceased – lawmakers who still maintain active campaign accounts. He has spent more than $200,000 from his account since heading off to prison, most of which was used to pay his lawyers. His account still had a $415,753 balance as of his most recent filing in July.
“They can basically use it for whatever they want,” said Bill Mahoney of the New York Public Interest Research Group, which has called for tighter restrictions on how former elected officials use their campaign funds. Mahoney said NYPIRG wants a law that requires campaign accounts be closed out within a few months of a candidate’s last election.
An Intuit spokeswoman said the donation to Kruger was initially made in 2009, but the check was never cashed, so the company automatically sent a new one earlier this year.
“Having learned of this error we will immediately seek return of the contribution,” said spokeswoman Diane Carlini. “We will also tighten our procedures to ensure such an aged contribution cannot be reissued without specific authorization from the political affairs office of the company.”
The issue has also caught the attention of Gov. Cuomo’s anti-corruption commission – which has called on the Legislature to tighten restrictions on how ex-candidates can use their funds.
In its preliminary report issued last Monday, the commission said it reviewed the accounts of 40 former candidates and found almost $3.5 million in expenses that took place after the election.The cash – which can legally be used for anything related to holding office — was spent on things like lawyers’ fees, to support other candidates, or for travel. But the commission also found evidence of personal expenditures.
Other ex-candidates with still-active campaign funds included former White Plains Mayor Adam Bradley, who resigned from office in 2011 after he was convicted of domestic violence charges -which were overturned on appeal — used $109,650 to pay his attorneys.
Bradley also spent several hundred dollars on meals this year, although he has not yet announced plans to run for office again.
Former Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who had $622,999 in his campaign account as of mid-July, made nearly $10,000 in donations to various charities earlier this year.
The campaign account of former Sen. Thomas Morahan, a Rockland County Republican who died in 2010, still had a $33,468 as of July and has been largely dormant in recent years.
Kruger’s campaign treasurer, Frank Garofalo, was not available for comment. A woman who answered the telephone at his Long Island home said “we are not interested” before hanging up on a Daily News reporter.