1:33 pm Oct. 15, 2012
A spokesman for the New York State Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, said the office "can't comment on ongoing/potential investigations," when I asked about the reported abuses among some state legislators who sought reimbursements for lodging and travel costs in Albany.
I emailed the state comptroller and governor's office for comment and will update when I receive a response.
In a cover story on Sunday, the New York Post detailed some convincing examples of lawmakers seeking travel reimbursements on days they weren't in Albany. Lawmakers can request a $165 "per diem" for an overnight stay to the capital, or $65 for a day trip.
When confronted with proof that he sought the overnight per diem, when news accounts reported he was at a town hall event in Jamaica, Queens, Assemblyman William Scarborough said, "I don't think I have to give you proof."
Another legislator, Assemblywoman Vivian Cook, submitted paperwork to collect her per diems for 12 consecutive days, while the legislature was in session for only three of them, none of which she attended.
In June, Post state editor Fred Dicker reported that Governor Andrew Cuomo was considering an end to the per diem system as part of an increase in legislative pay, and possibly replacing it with a single lump sum.
“The governor is looking to have us give up the per diems in exchange for a pay hike,’’ a senior Democrat in the Assembly told Dicker at the time. “I’m not sure it’s worth it. It’s a lot of money.”
UPDATE: Kate Gurnett, a spokeswoman for the state comptroller's office, emailed to say, "We are looking at the travel records of Assemblyman Boyland and other related matters."
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