Lawmakers Lawyer Up Again

| Press Releases

State legislators spent over $1 million in taxpayer funds on outside attorneys during a six-month period, newly-released records show.

The Assembly paid $657,629 to five different law firms, with the largest amount ($345,000) going to Kasowitz, Benson, Torres & Friedman, while the Senate spent $418,574 on services from Jones Day. Although the expenditure data released by the legislature do not detail the work performed, published reports link some of the law firms to work related to the Moreland Act Commission, investigations into sexual misconduct by assemblymembers and the 2012 redistricting process. This is the second time in two years that legislators have reported spending more than one million dollars of taxpayer money on legal fees in a six-month period.

The expenditure reports, covering the period from Oct. 1, 2013 to March 31 of this year and detailing nearly $109 million in spending, were posted today at SeeThroughNY.net, the government transparency website sponsored by the Empire Center. The total expenditures of each legislator can be viewed here.

The data also show:

  • At $538,315, Senate Republican Leader Dean Skelos was the highest-spending senator. The average per-member expenditure among senators was $376,761.
  • Assemblyman Richard Gottfried topped the list of assemblymembers at $517,120. Gottfried, who has served in the Assembly since 1971, is that house’s most senior member and chairs the Assembly Health Committee. The average full-term member of the Assembly spent $178,834.
  • Twelve employees of the Legislative Task Force on Redistricting (LATFOR) were paid $386,588.41; the next round of redistricting is not until 2021.
  • Legislators accumulated over $6.1 million in postage costs.

SeeThroughNY allows the public to examine government expenditures on the Internet. It includes the wages of state, public authority, city, county, village, town and school district employees. Also posted are pension data, state legislators’ office expenditures, a benchmarking feature for comparing local government and school district spending, and a budget app, which allows taxpayers to search current and historic numbers on state spending and revenues. The site launched July 31, 2008.

Media Contact:

Ken Girardin
kgirardin@empirecenter.org
518-434-3100

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