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Money In Politics:

Politicians who keep their campaign cash

Published February 2, 2021

Some elected officials shut down their campaign funds when they leave office, but many don’t. Some enter the private sector with substantial sums of campaign cash, which they can use largely as they see fit. Ken Kruly, Investigative Post researcher and publisher of Politics and Other Stuff, reviewed the campaign finances of 32 former elected officials in Western New York. Here he looks at the top 10 — as it happens, five Democrats and five Republicans — whose campaign accounts are still active.

Update: Geoff Kelly reported on this post’s findings for WGRZ.


Who has most money left in their campaign treasuries

Last year
Name Last office held in office Balance
Michael Ranzenhofer * State Senator 2020 $ 824,083
George Maziarz State Senator 2014 $ 545,395
Cathy Young State Senator 2019 $ 425,433
Robin Schimminger * Assembly Member 2020 $ 410,665
John LaFalce Representative 2002 $ 144,763
Anthony Masiello ** Mayor 2005 $ 75,282
Joel Giambra County Executive 2007 $ 70,727
William Stachowski State Senator 2010 $ 54,995
Chris Jacobs State Senator 2020 $ 35,576
Hillary Clinton U.S. Senator 2008 $ 22,343
* Retired, Dec. 2020
** July 2020 Report

Talking Points

  • Two recently retired legislators, State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer and Assembly Member Robin Schimminger, have substantial campaign accounts. Ranzenhofer has $824,083 the most of any retired politician, while Schimminger has $410,665.
  • Among officials who have been out of office for more than one year, the richest account belongs to former state Senator George Maziarz. The Niagara County Republican — who left office while under investigation for alleged misuse of campaign funds — has $545,395 on hand.  
  • The remaining treasuries range from $22,343 (Hillary Clinton’s U.S. Senate campaign account dating to 2006) to $425,433 (former state Senator Cathy Young, the Chautauqua County Republican who left office in 2019).
  • The average number of years out of office for the politicians who control them: nearly 11 years.
  • In New York State newly elected judges are required during the year following their elections to close out their campaign financial committees.  Other elected officials, even after they have left office, are not obligated to shut down their campaign committees ever.
  • The money is most commonly spent on contributions to candidates and political parties and gifts to various charitable and community organizations. Officials are not supposed to use the funds for personal use, but there are frequently unitemized expenses listed in disclosure reports.
  • One statistic only a sports fan could love:  7 of the 10 former elected officials reviewed in this report either retired from or once served in the State Senate.

Podcast

Ken Kruly and Geoff Kelly talk about how former elected officials spend their leftover campaign money, as well as the latest developments in the political season now underway.

Listen to Podcast

Next: The campaign finances of Buffalo Congressman Brian Higgins