NY Times (Danny Hakim): Uncovering the Perks of Albany’s Fallen G.O.P.
Democrats took control of the State Senate last month after more than four decades of Republican rule, then set out to determine how the Senate’s own budget of nearly $100 million and its attendant perks were being distributed. They are still trying to figure it out. They recently realized there are some 75 employees working at the Senate’s own printing plant, a plain brick building on the outskirts of Albany. On Long Island, they found a small television studio, which had been set up – all with public money, with two press aides on hand to help operate it – for the exclusive use of Republican senators to record cable TV shows. Democrats also came across what they are calling the “Brunomobile,” a $50,000 specially outfitted GMC van, with six leather captain’s chairs (some swiveling), a navigation system, rearview camera and meeting table. Joseph L. Bruno, the former Senate majority leader who was recently indicted on corruption charges, traveled in the van after his use of state helicopters sparked a feud with the Spitzer administration.