Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Running Again or Just Questionable Use of Old Campaign Funds?

This morning's New York Times reports that Sean Patrick Maloney, a candidate for attorney general in 2006 and now first deputy to Governor Spitzer, spent almost $35,000 from his campaign account in 2007. Among his expenses were a party for supporters of his AG run and maintenance for his donor list and his political website. It certainly appears as if he might be ramping up another run for office, but Maloney insists he is simply taking steps to put his account to rest.

The Times points out a reason that Maloney might be loath to admit to any office-seeking: Governor Spitzer's second executive order upon taking office banned his appointees from seeking elected office.

Maloney's position in the administration doesn't fall under the scope of the ban, but whether he's running or not, his actions don't look great. On the one hand, if he is laying campaign groundwork, he's violating the spirit, if not the letter, of the Governor's executive order. But if he isn't running, buying meals for former supporters and sending out thousands of holiday cards doesn't seem to be legitimate use of leftover campaign funds.

We hope the Governor will start holding all of his employees to the high standard set for those heading up state agencies and public authorities. It's also well past time for the Governor and the Legislature to tighten up the rules for use of campaign cash.

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