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NY Senate GOP seeks to quash elections subpoena

ALBANY — New York Republicans are attempting to quash a subpoena that seeks an array of state Senate campaign records, contending it is “overly broad” and amounts to a “backdoor political attack.”

At issue is a subpoena filed in State Supreme Court in Albany County by Risa Sugarman, chief enforcement counsel for the New York State Board of Elections, pursuing documents and communications from the Senate Republican Campaign Committee and its affiliated campaign “housekeeping committee” over multiple years.

Further detail was available immediately about the subpoena and Sugarman declined to comment Friday.

The SRCC filed a motion Thursday attempting to block Sugarman’s request.

“These subpoenas are overly broad and burdensome, and would require SRCC to open up its books in an unprecedented way by turning over virtually every piece of paper we have ever produced to (Democrats),” Scott Reif, GOP Senate spokesman said in an email. “No other campaign committee has faced such a demand.”

He continued: “This is not an investigation; it is a political witch-hunt that should scare every New Yorker who believes in free and fair elections. We look forward to the court’s decision on this blatant and unconstitutional use of power.”

Watchdog groups long have complained that all political parties use “housekeeping” funds meant for office, staff and other “ordinary” expenses, to funnel money to campaigns or buy campaign ads.

The groups also note that state law doesn’t limit contributions to “housekeeping” committees, effectively removing any impediment to big spending special interests.

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