Thursday, June 1, 2017

NY Senate Stipend Probe Yields Subpoena

At least one Federal Subpoena has been served on the New York State Senate in connection with controversial Stipends doled out to eight Republican and breakaway Democratic Senators.

The Subpoena seeks Documents pertaining to the matter, according to sources with knowledge of them.

New York State Legislative Stipends - The Advocacy group Effective NY calculated how much extra pay Members of the State Senate and Assembly collect on top of their part-time salaries of $79,500. The Leaders of each body get $41,500 and Chairs of top Committees like Education or Judiciary get an extra $18,000. Many Legislators are not accepting the Stipend that accompanies their position.

The Senate Stipend process has come under fire after it was revealed that in recent years five Senate Republicans and three Members of the breakaway Independent Democratic Conference received Committee Chairmen Stipends even though they did not Lead the Panels on the records submitted by the Senate to the State Controller's Office.

This year alone, three Senate Republicans held Chairmanships of lesser Paying Committees but instead took the Higher Stipends from the Panels where they served as Vice Chairs, which under Law do not come with Pay. Others never took part in the Committee meetings.

Senators are not allowed to take more than one Committee or Leadership Stipend.

A Legal opinion from Senate GOP Counsel David Lewis said the committee Chairman Title in the paperwork submitted with the Controller's office was used as a type of Accounting Code rather than to identify the Title of specific Senators receiving the Stipends. But a Senate Democrat Legal opinion said the Payment of Stipends to Vice and Deputy Vice Chairs who were listed as committee Chairs was unlawful.

The state Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office is also looking into the matter.

State Controller Thomas DiNapoli, whose office paid out the Stipends, confirmed that his office has been cooperating with Law Enforcement. DiNapoli said the records sent to him for Payments were Certified by the Senate. He said it’s up to the Senate itself or Law Enforcement to decide whether the Records were Lawful.

The Albany County District Attorney David Soares, who met with Senate Democrats to talk about the issue, decided against launching his own Investigation.

NYC Wins When Everyone Can Vote! Michael H. Drucker
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