Ethics Commission: We Didn’t Bless Hiram’s Slush Fund

ALBANY—They can’t say much, but they can say that State Senator Hiram Monserrate didn’t talk to them.

After a long preamble about the secrecy of its deliberation and findings, the Legislative Ethics Commission said in a statement that with “respect to the issue of legal defense funds, the Legislative Ethics Commission, established in 2007, has received no requests and issued no opinions regarding such funds. Further, no member of the Commission either as a member of this body or as a member of its predecessor Committee, has ever considered the issue of legal defense funds.”

The Times Union’s Jim Odato broke the story of a private legal defense committee on Monday, and said that “according to legislative aides, the Legislative Ethics Commission has established a confidential opinion allowing for defense fund contributions. But the funds must be set up according to rules.”

Ethics advocates decried the move yesterday, calling it a “million dollar loophole.” One Democratic senator, speaking on background, told me it was a moot point because “who would ever give him money? Really? Who would give him money?”

“Maybe it’s the Wedding Channel, hoping he marries her so they can make a Bridezilla.”


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