State Senate Staff-Up Enriches Espada's Office by $500,000

The state senate Democrats have been staffing up and shelling out -- to the tune of $1 million, says the Post, though the office of president pro tem Malcolm Smith claims the overall number after cuts "will be in line with the previous majority, if not lower." Whichever way the cash flows, majority leader Pedro Espada Jr. will be the big winner. The Post puts his office's raises and new hires at $500,000; the Daily News names the more recent and modest figure of $350,000, and notes that a number of the hires are from the Espada-owned Soundview Health Center, a reliable source of campaign opportunities and contributors for the Bronx pol.

This all builds off yesterday's Albany Times-Union report on Espada's post-Coup finances. That paper also says that "Senate Democrats couldn't immediately show whether total spending for a new three-person leadership structure" -- that is, Espada, Smith, and conference leader John Sampson -- "is less than when the majority leader alone controlled most of the power."

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