Senator Straddle

East Side Liberals Tire of Roy Goodman’s Albany Alibis

His argument, of course, goes full circle. He voted then, he said, "as a matter of party discipline," even though he is a sixth of the Republican margin in the 36-25 senate and his efforts to sustain GOP control block virtually all of the do-good bills that get him reelected every two years. If the Republicans didn't have his and a handful of other votes, hate crime victims wouldn't have had to wait a decade for protection, guns would wind up in childproof security, HMOs would not be insulated from consumer grievance, gargantuan gifts would not dominate the electoral process, and gays would have the same rights as other targeted groups.

The Democratic slogan in senate races could simply be: "We can do for you now what Roy and the Republicans will take a decade to do."

The final irony is that Goodman is one of the state's master fundraisers. He still collects donations from half a dozen Rockefellers. The people who dump money into his senate campaign committee presumably believe it is going to support his brand of hybrid Republicanism—socially liberal with a pro-business economic bent. But a look at Goodman's campaign filings since 1995 identified $133,000 that he raised for himself and transferred to more right-wing committees, most of it going to none other than Joe Bruno and the statewide GOP senate committee. He threw another $33,500 in Manhattan party funds at the state GOP and Conservative parties, as well as other right-wing candidacies.

Senator Pass-Through launders Manhattan money through these committees for his upstate-dominated senate caucus, as well as prolife candidates like Dan Lundgren, who ran for California governor in 1998 and lost. There's no way of knowing how much he raises directly for Bruno's committee or others, since bundlers like him are not required to be disclosed.

In part perhaps because of this steady campaign largesse, Goodman consistently ranks at the very top of the senate's big spenders, allocated well over a million in publicly subsidized staff and office costs, more than any other member. That's hardly the way most legislative leaders treat the true mavericks in their midst. He is a fake artifact, a garrulous grandstander who's run out of alibis, his act too tired for a new century.

Research: Kim Brown, Jennifer Fagan, Rob Morlino

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