The New York Legislature has committed a giant bogie.
Both Senate Democrats and Republicans held golf outings near the capital, as the New York Postreports, “to shake down lobbyists and special interest groups for big bucks.”
In other words, it was business as usual for the legislators and their guests. Even though the budget is more than three months late and taxpayers are facing escalating costs, the lawmakers are still hard at work -- raising money for reelection campaigns.
The Democratic leadership charged $5,000 for a foursome at the Wiltwyck Golf Club in Kingston. An individual could play for $1,500. It cost just $1,000 for a poor lobbyist to have cocktails and dinner with the big wheel politicians. No golf for him.
At the Albany Country Club in Voorheesville, the Republicans were charging similar prices at their fundraiser. "Rome is burning and we’re eating clams casino and drinking gin and playing with some real bad golfers," one guest told the newspaper.
I spoke to Blair Horner of the reform group State NYPIRG. “The golf outings”, he said, “are a brazen example of Albany’s pay to play culture. As soon as the annual session starts every January, they begin fundraising. It’s an illustration of the grotesque system that prevails in Albany.”
Horner says that only one tenth of one percent of the voting public actually contributes to the politicians. There are rougly 35,000 people who write checks for the politicians -- and about 1/3 of this group signs checks of $10,000 or more.
So, if you are anxious to make friends with the people who write the laws and you like clams casino, you don’t have to take golf lessons to join this exclusive club. Just bring your wallet.