State Senators Find Time for Money

Senators still fill campaign coffers while putting lawmaking on hold.

Aren't clowns supposed to make us laugh? Well this is enough to make you cry: New York's state senators reportedly raised a whopping $1.6 million during the five-week coup-de-stupid that virtually shut down the legislature.

All together, the 62 senators raised $1,617,618, in the 31 days after June 8, according to the New York Post, which requested an analysis of campaign-finance data by the New York Public Interest Research Group.

But while 54 senators accepted at least $100 during the impasse, eight members accounted for the bulk of the do-nothing dough.

Sen. Jeffrey Klein (D-Bronx) took in the most money during the hiatus brought about by the defection of the "Three Amigos," Pedro Espada Jr., Hiram Monserrate and Ruben Diaz Sr. -- Klein raked in $330,034, much of that during a birthday party fundraiser in the coup's final week, the Post reported.

In his defense, Klein told the paper that the July 8 event at a friend's house in Pelham Manor was "planned more than a month before the coup and I felt no reason to cancel it."

Senate Minority Leader Dean Skelos (R-L.I.), who took an integral part in planning the coup,  followed with the second most money raised -- $139,000.

Carl Kruger (D-Brooklyn), Craig Johnson (D-L.I.) and Malcolm Smith (D-Queens) all raised funds in the low $100K range during the shake-up, according to the research.

Sen. John Sampson (D-Brooklyn), who became democratic leader after the coup, raised $58,725 during the tumultuous month-long period, more than half of his total for the entire past six months.

Pedro Espada Jr. (D?-Bronx), whose double-crossing ways should inspire folk songs for years to come, only had the time to raise about $55,000. 

His fellow coup-ster, Hiram Monserate (D?-Queens) meanwhile didn't report any funds raised, and curiously actually canceled an Albany fete in the middle of the debacle.

And their constituents are certainly not laughing. A new survey by Siena Research Institute shows that 77 percent of registered voters are "angry " about the senate power play and believe it "accomplished nothing."

Forty percent of respondents said they would vote for a challenger if the contest were held today, versus 31 percent who would still re-elect their incumbent senator.

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