Senate Republicans settle campaign investigation
Chris Bragg reports in the Times Union that New York State Senate Republicans are paying a $200,000 settlement to close an inquiry into the party’s alleged abuse of a campaign account. The State Board of Elections could have levied fines and penalties for more than $2 million after Republicans paid for a series of campaign-style mailers that advocated for the election of GOP candidates from a "housekeeping" bank account. Under state election law, "housekeeping" bank accounts can only be used to pay bills, rather than advocate for candidates. Senate Republicans argued the legal theory of State Board of Elections enforcement counsel Michael L. Johnson in prosecuting the case contradicted a formal opinion authored by the state Board of Elections in 2013. Losing $200,000 should hurt Senate Republicans during this current election season, as they are already behind Senate Democrats in campaign fundraising. Still, they downplayed the settlement. "The agreement with the Board of Elections enforcement counsel relates to years-old campaign activity that took place long before the current leadership took charge of the campaign committee," said Katy Delgado, a Senate Republican spokesperson. "While we believe our committee has consistently complied with New York election laws, avoiding a costly and protracted legal effort is the most responsible path forward." Read the full this story in the Times Union.