State lawmakers this week are expected to advance legislation that would strip politicians of their campaign accounts after a felony conviction.
The bill addresses the number of campaign accounts left open after a politician has been found guilty. Former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, for instance, still has $35,127 in his campaign account, according to a January filing. Skelos is now incarcerated in a federal prison.
Ex-Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, who is free amid an appeal, last reported $1.6 million in cash in July 2015 and has subsequently filed no activity statements with the Board of Elections.
The bill would require campaign accounts be wound down within two years of a conviction, with the money either returned to donors or given to charity.
The Senate version of the bill is sponsored by Sen. Todd Kaminsky, a former federal prosecutor who flipped the seat held by Skelos on Long Island. The bill is sponsored by Assemblywoman Judy Griffin.
“It flies in the face of reason why the law allows any elected official to continue maintaining control over his or her campaign account from behind the walls of a prison,” the bill’s memo states. “This legislation will close this loophole once and for all and ensure that those guilty of corruption or other crimes cannot continue to expend campaign funds.”