Ex-Sen. Dean Skelos spent nearly $800,000 in campaign funds unsuccessfully fighting corruption charges this fall, newly filed records showed Friday.
Skelos, the Rockville Centre Republican who led the State Senate from 2011 to 2015, paid $762,145 to Gage, Spencer & Fleming, the Manhattan law firm that defended him in the trial that culminated in a jury finding Skelos and his son, Adam, guilty of bribery, conspiracy and extortion. The conviction meant automatic expulsion of Skelos from the Senate.
State election laws don’t prohibit lawmakers from spending campaign money on defense attorneys. Skelos still has nearly $1.6 million in his campaign account. He is slated to be sentenced March 3, though he is expected to appeal.
Skelos was one of numerous state lawmakers who filed campaign-finance statements Friday, the deadline for six-month reporting period that ends in mid-January.
Ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s campaign finance report showed that he spent $1.4 million on defense attorneys over the past six months and nearly $3 million in the past year. Silver was convicted last month on bribery and extortion charges.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo raised $5 million in contributions since July and now has $16 million in the bank, according to his campaign statement.
Among his expenditures, the governor paid Elkan Abramowitz, a private attorney, $300,000 since July to represent him in a federal probe of his shuttering of the Moreland Commission, a controversial panel Cuomo created to investigate corruption. Instead, federal prosecutors wound up investigating whether the governor improperly interfered with the panel. Earlier this week, Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York, said there was insufficient evidence to charge anyone with a crime related to the operation of the commission.
Cuomo also paid $8,000 to Farmingdale-based Talon Air to fly him to Kansas City for a Mets-Royals World Series game. Talon, whose owner is a campaign contributor, operates from Republic Airport, which Cuomo has proposed privatizing.