Niagara Gazette

Local News

May 13, 2014

Report calls Maziarz campaign fund spending into question

A news magazine that covers politics and government in New York reported Sunday that the now-defunct Moreland Commission on Public Corruption flagged the campaign spending habits of several state lawmakers — including one with ties to Niagara County — as part of broader investigation into the spending of campaign funds.

In a story appearing on its website, City & State reported that is has obtained and authenticated documents that show investigators from the commission, which was disbanded in March by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, sought to determine if state lawmakers were spending campaign contributions they received for legitimate purposes.

The report indicates that the commission found state Sen. George Maziarz, R-Newfane, spent more than $140,000 in campaign funds during a six-year period without identifying the specific items purchased — far more than any other lawmaker in the state. 

Another state lawmaker from Western New York — state Sen. Patrick Gallivan, R-Elma — was found to have roughly $80,000 in unreported campaign credit card expenses, including "hundreds of dollars spent on cigars, tanning and at salons and casinos," according to the report. 

They were among several Democratic and Republican lawmakers whose campaign funds the news outlet said were examined by the commission as part of the larger investigation. 

The City & State article notes that the commission documents it obtained "do not explicitly accuse any lawmaker of outright wrongdoing or allege any criminality." The news outlet also noted that its own investigation "found no proof of illegality on the behalf of any elected official or candidate," adding that "while there are a number of expenditures that raise questions, several experts consulted by City & State made the point that the legal definition of what constitutes a legitimate use of campaign funds in New York state is extremely broad, and that even expenses that seemed like personal use on their face could actually be allowable based on the letter of the law."

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