By Tom Precious
ALBANY -- It's always curious when donations drop off in Albany to political campaign committees.
Take the Senate Republicans. They raised $856,000 during the past six months, according to filings this afternoon with the state elections board. That’s down from the $1.7 million the Senate Republican Campaign Committee raised in its January 2012 election report. (Senators run every two years for re-election.)
The Senate Republicans, desperate to keep in partial control of the Senate in November elections, reported $2.3 million on hand. That is just a tad more than the $178.29 the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee reported as being left in the bank after raising $663,000 during the past six months.The Democrats did, however, pay off $665,000 in past campaign debts, and their fundraising take was up from the $548,000 they reported in their January 2012 filing.
Why the lower Senate GOP take? Officials weren’t providing an on-the-record explanation.
But Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif said that the GOP will have, when a separate "housekeeping'' account is included, about $3 million more on hand than Senate Democrats. "Senate Republicans have proven we can govern and get results, and New Yorkers are reacting in a positive way. No one wants to go back to the dysfunction and chaos they witnessed when Senate Democrats were in charge,'' Reif said.
One explanation for the GOP drop in fundraising money from its 2012 to 2014 filings could be related to campaign funding probes under way by an anti-corruption panel appointed last year by Gov. Andrew Cuomo. Or maybe corporations were tapped out by the New York City mayor's election last fall.
Or, more likely, it could be that the Senate GOP now is in a power-sharing period with a group of four breakaway Democrats. That group, the Independent Democratic Conference, did not yet show up on the elections board’s website, but officials on Monday said its campaign account has more than $3.6 million on hand.
Over in the Assembly, the Democratic Assembly Campaign Committee said it has raised $453,000 in the past six months, up from $422,000 two years ago, and has $1.8 million on hand. (No report had been filed yet by former Assemblyman Dennis Gabryszak, a Cheektowaga Democrat who resigned in disgrace this week.)
The GOP money drop wasn’t restricted to its overall campaign account. Sen. Mark Grisanti, a Buffalo Republican, brought in $43,000 the past six months; that is down from the $248,000 he raised during the same reporting period two years ago. A spokesman declined comment.
All legislators are up for re-election this year.