Saturday, October 28, 2006

Court forces NY Legislators to disclose Pork

"ALBANY, N.Y. — A state judge this week ordered leaders of the state Legislature to disclose the names of lawmakers who decide how $170 million in taxpayer money is spent on pork-barrel projects in their home districts.

The suit filed in Albany’s Supreme Court by the Albany Times Union newspaper claimed Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, and Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, violated New York’s Freedom of Information Law by refusing to let the public see computer data that shows the member items each lawmaker obtained and who got the money.


"The newspaper has reported on a number of member items that raise questions. In one case, hundreds of thousands of dollars were directed from the Republican-led Senate to the North Bronx Westchester Neighborhood Restoration Association controlled by former Republican Sen. Guy Velella, even after his 2004 conviction for taking bribes.

Millions more, almost all from Assembly Democrats, went to the Metropolitan New York Coordinating Council on Jewish Poverty. Its executive director, who makes $273,181 a year, is married to Silver’s chief of staff."