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State Sen. Carl Kruger’s $2.1-million campaign war chest brings new meaning to the phrase “money to burn.”
With no viable competition this year, Kruger (D–Sheepshead Bay) has spent a good chunk of that money on high-priced hotels ($8,630), swanky restaurants ($13,000), his car ($8,939) and even his iTunes account ($302), according to an investigation spearheaded by our sister publication, the New York Post.
But the biggest campaign expenses were saved for a massive renovation of his office on Avenue U and East 22nd Street, on which Kruger spent more than $90,000, including more than $23,000 on office furniture.
He also billed his campaign account nearly $1,000 for plumbing in his office bathroom. Donors also poneyed up the additional $288 that Kruger spent on bathroom supplies.
The office also must be quite welcoming: Kruger plunked down $540.65 on door mats.
The Post noted that Kruger spent $4,700 for paint and wallpaper, even though two of the walls have floor to ceiling windows.
Then there’s the unexplained office rehab expenditures: Campaign filings show that he spent $4,844 on tiles, although his office is carpeted, and $545 for landscaping, even though the office has no lawns or gardens.
He also paid $10,500 to a New Jersey air conditioning and heating system company with two different addresses — one of which doesn’t exist.
But all of these expenses seem to be fair game, at least in Albany’s eyes, since there are very few restrictions to campaign spending.
Still, claiming that an office rehab will help his re-election is a pretty hard sell.
According to state law, legislators are barred from campaigning from their district office. The headquarters of “Friends of Carl,” Kruger’s re-election committee, is actually located around the corner from his district office in a small storefront on East 22nd Street between avenues U and V.
“[Kruger’s] abusing the law, even if he’s not necessarily violating it,” Dick Dadey, executive director of the Citizens Union — a government watchdog group — told the Post. “He is violating the public’s trust.”
When contacted by this paper, Kruger said his office was “beautiful” and that “not a dime of taxpayer money was used.”
©2010 Community Newspaper Group
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