Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Albany Times Union investigates pork in the New York Senate

The Albany Times Union has an excellent investigation into secret spending in a New York Senate's General Legislative Operations Programs (emphasis added):
GLOP fills up pork barrel
Republican Senate majority's General Legislative Operations Programs doles out money for pet education projects in a shadowy system with little financial oversight

By JAMES M. ODATO, Capitol bureau
First published: Sunday, September 17, 2006

ALBANY -- Senate Republicans are secretly doling out tens of millions of dollars in education funds on pet projects arranged by individual lawmakers around the state, a Times Union investigation has found.

The money has a name befitting the murky system for spreading it around: GLOP.

GLOP, which stands for General Legislative Operations Programs, is money for education embedded in the state's annual budget. GOP senators use the funds on scholarships for ethnic organizations, equipment purchases by religious institutions, consulting contracts, union programs, charter school costs and private college projects.

So clandestine are the Senate's GLOP projects that Senate Minority Leader David Paterson, D-Harlem, had no idea who was deploying the money, or how, until the Times Union told him last week.

"It's totally at their whim," Paterson said, noting the funds were not made available to Democrats. "It's not lined out. It's not known where the money's going. It's all in dark shadows."

He said he's particularly irked that Republicans have fought a court ruling to increase funding for New York City schools, yet they used school funds to enrich other organizations.

GLOP is a growing account that lawmakers prefer to call "bullet aid" -- dollars aimed at targets they believe need state help.

This year's GLOP totals a record $85 million, including $59.5 million unallocated for any specific purpose. Those dollars were appropriated on top of the record $1.27 billion increase in state aid to schools this year, which totals $17.7 billion...
Update: Pork-barrel madness: Albany lists off its pet projects


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