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Law allows defeated candidates to keep campaign funds

Even though he lost to Democrat Andrew Gounardes in November, former Republican state Sen. Marty Golden is still holding onto a campaign war chest worth nearly $270,000, according to campaign finance filings.

And it’s perfectly legal, the New York State Board of Elections said.

Under state law, candidates, even those who lost their elections, are allowed to keep the money donated to their campaigns.

They’re even allowed to spend the funds any way they wish, with one notable exception. They are not permitted to dip into the campaign funds for personal use like spending it on vacations or buying new cars.

“There is no requirement that candidates dispose of their campaign funds in any specific way unless they die, and even then the treasurer has two years to dispose of the funds and close the committee,” John Conklin, public information director for the New York State Board of Elections, told this newspaper via email. “The only restrictions on the use of funds is Section 14-130, which prohibits the funds from being converted to a personal use.”

Conklin said candidates are also permitted to keep the stash of cash to use for future political campaigns. “Yes, they can use the funds to run for office again,” he told this newspaper.

Golden, an eight-term incumbent, lost to Gounardes, a Bay Ridge lawyer who served as Borough President Eric Adams’ chief counsel, in a hotly contested elected in November in the 22nd Senate District.

The district includes all or parts of several Brooklyn neighborhoods like Bay Ridge, Dyker Heights, Bensonhurst, Gravesend, Manhattan Beach, Gerritsen Beach and Marine Park.

Bklyner was the first to report on Golden’s leftover campaign contributions.

Golden spent $44,616 during his last month in office, mostly settling debts like accountants’ fees and paying the bill at the Bay Ridge Manor, the catering hall at 474 76th St. owned by one of his siblings. Golden held events at the Bay Ridge Manor regularly during his years in office. His election night party there cost $4,778, which he paid before leaving office at the end of December.

Another vanquished lawmaker, Jesse Hamilton, who lost the primary in September to fellow Democrat Zellnor Myrie in the 20th Senate District, had $16,419 left in campaign funds when all was said and done. The district takes in parts of Crown Heights, Park Slope and Sunset Park.

Former state Sen. Martin Dilan was defeated in the Democratic primary by upstart Julia Salazar in the 18th Senate District — which encompasses Bushwick, Williamsburg and Greenpoint, but had $118,197 left in campaign funds at the end.

This story originally appeared on www.BrooklynEagle.com.

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