This may be old news, but it was news to me: According to a 2006 Report compiled by the nonprofit Common Cause organization on NY State campaign funds misuse, State Senator Martin Connor spent over $70,000 on “other” expenses, including a brand new car (a Jeep Grand Cherokee) and a parking space in Brooklyn Heights, during a time when he faced no opposition (2003-2004).
The report, which investigates the muddy world of New York State campaign financing, highlighted Senator Martin Connor for stretching “the definition of ‘campaign expense’ beyond any reasonable limit”:
The single largest expense was the car itself, purchased for $34,582.08. The Senator also spent a total of $11,966 to park his car at a garage located over two miles from his district office in Manhattan but just one block from his Brooklyn residence. The third largest expense was car insurance from Allstate, costing a total of $11,763. Connor also spent $8,558 on repairs and maintenance, including a $5,422 repair in July 2004, just one year from the purchase date. Rounding out the carrelated expense list was $2,773 for miscellaneous “car expense” reimbursements made directly to the Senator; $1,999 spent on gasoline reimbursements; $150 to register the car; and $45 for a AAA membership.
This represented 35% of his campaign expenses during a time period where he had no opponents in the primary or the general election.
Mr. Connor is no stranger to such “creative accounting” it seems: In the late 80s he was under investigation for payroll abuses, including “no-show” jobs and using employees for full-time campaign work.