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You Paid For It: Which lawmakers collect the most cash?
An update tonight on per diems -- the 165 dollars a day state lawmakers are given for expenses while they are here in Albany. Assembly member William Boyland is now facing federal charges after we reported on his per diem abuse. No documentation or receipts are required when lawmakers put in for per diems -- there have been some minor changes in the per diem process since our reports on Mr. Boyland, but still the money, your money, is being handed out like candy, and some lawmakers are not at all happy that we are staying on top of it.
Assembly member Earlene Hooper of long island will not discuss her per diems with cbs6 news.
She racked up more than $22,000 worth last year -- more than $200,000 worth over the past ten years.
All that expense money is on top of her $79,500 salary, her $25,000 stipend as deputy speaker of the assembly and her state pension, conservatively estimated at $80,000.
Add all that together and you get 207 thousand dollars she collected from the state last year.
We have interviewed a number of downstate and western New York lawmakers, and they all say they can’t live on their legislative salary and stipend, so they say they need their expenses to be paid for by taxpayers..
In the wake of our per diem reporting, there have been some minor changes -- the assembly expense form now includes language about the criminality of submitting false information. Assembly speaker Sheldon silver tells us there will still be no documentation of expenses required.