By Tom Precious
ALBANY –- State Sen. Ron Stafford was a powerbroker during his nearly 40 years in Albany. From the grave, he’s apparently still trying to influence things here and help his Senate Republican allies.
On Saturday, the Committee to Re-Elect Senator Stafford donated $2,000 to Albany-area Republican George Amedore in his effort to win next week and help the Republicans keep control of the Senate.
Stafford died in June 2005.
The new donation from Stafford, who lived in Plattsburgh, showed up today in the state Board of Elections disclosure requirements that campaigns must reveal each day until election day any donations over $1,000.
Over the years, Stafford’s widow, Kay, has been able to direct where the funds can be spent from the campaign cash leftover at the time of his death. Slowly over the past seven years, the funds have dropped from a little over $100,000 to $27,000 as of this past July when the late senator’s campaign –- yes, it is still technically an active New York state political campaign committee -– last filed its financial disclosure report with the state elections board.
Donations from lawmakers-turned-lobbyists, who can tap into former campaign accounts to help their lobbying businesses, are pretty common in Albany. It’s a bit rare for campaigns of dead lawmakers to keep on giving, but it does happen. Sandra Lee Wirth, a former Assembly Republican from Erie County who died in 2006, still has, for instance, $26,000 left in her campaign fund.
UPDATE: A spokesman for Amedore said this afternoon the Stafford committee donation has been returned.