News & Politics

New York Lawmakers Spent More Than $7 Million On Stamps In Six Months

by

Do they not have email in Albany? Because the absence of email is the only plausible explanation for the more than $7 million in taxpayer money that New York lawmakers spent on stamps in six months.

That’s not a joke — New York lawmakers actually spent more than $7 million on postage in six months, according to the latest filings on the Empire Center for New York State Policy’s database of legislative expenditures.

But it wasn’t just postage on which our elected officials pissed away our money — according to the database, the total amount of legislative expenditures between October of 2011 and March of this year was $102 million.

But don’t worry — an Assembly spokesman tells the Voice that they didn’t use all the stamps, they just bought them (more on that below).

In all, members of the Assembly spent $2,802,874 on postage between the
aforementioned dates. During that same period, Senate members spent
$4,278,047 on postage (to be fair, some of that money — although not
even close to the majority — was spent on other “office” expenditures
for the lawmakers).

Stunned by the enormous amount of money pissed away on stamps — which we initially thought was only about $4 million — we spoke to an ECNYSP researcher to make sure we were reading the database correctly.

“That figure sounds about right,” he laughed. “But I think it might be more. Hold on.”

Sure
enough, he was right — when properly calibrating the search function
on the database, it turns out we were off by more than $3 million.

We
asked both Senate and Assembly officials how lawmakers could possibly
spend that much money on postage. The Senate never got back to us. The
Assembly did.

“James – in regard to your email about postage. The figure represents
postage purchased, not actually used during the period. In other words,
you can purchase it and use it later,” Assembly spokesman Michael Whyland tells the Voice in an email.

Maybe that’s the case, but it doesn’t change the fact that Assembly members spent close to $3 million on stamps in six months — the Legislature, as a whole, dropped more than $7 million…on stamps…in six months.

Is
the New York Legislature squirreling away stamps? Is “postage” code for
“Vito Lopez hush money?

Who knows?

What we do know is that spending $7 million in taxpayer money on stamps — in six months — is ri-friggin-diculous.

Click here
to access the database (for the Senate, stamps are searchable by
selecting “allocated operational expenses.” For the Assembly, stamps are
searchable by selecting “mail”).

And keep in mind, the $7
million in postage is less than 10 percent of the “legislative
expenditures” of the last six months. Go ahead and play around with the
database’s search function — let us know what you find out.