State lawmakers spent $7.8 million on postage for campaign-style mailings to constituents in the six-month run-up to last year’s elections, according to data added today to SeeThroughNY, the Empire Center’s transparency website.
Senators spent $4.2 million and Assembly members spent $3.5 million on bulk postage and newsletter mailings between April 1 and Sept. 30, 2018. The figures do not include the added cost of paper, printing equipment or of legislative writers and graphic artists who work on the mailings, which typically feature photographs of lawmakers and flattering language. A similar election-year surge in taxpayer-funded mailings was observed ahead of the 2016 election, when bulk postage spending also topped $7 million, according to data previously posted on SeeThroughNY.
Total spending during the six-month period totalled $60.3 million for the Assembly and $53.7 million for the Senate.
Other noteworthy expenditures for the most recent six-month reporting period included the Assembly’s payment of $126,000 to Rossein Associates, a firm reportedly hired to provide sexual harassment investigation and policy development services for the lower house. During the full 12-month period ending last Sept. 30, the Assembly paid Rossein a total of $329,442, nearly three times the $114,562 they paid the firm over the previous 12 months.
Taxpayers can examine over $2.5 billion in operational expenditures by the state Legislature since 2006 thanks to the SeeThroughNY Legislative Expenditures database.