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More Public Officials Using Expensive Vehicles for Campaigning

August 26, 2010

New York state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr. (D-Bronx) has spent thousands of dollars in campaign cash for a fleet of seven vans and trucks that promote the "Vote for Diaz" message. He is one of a growing number of public officials to use campaign dollars for expensive vehicles, according to the New York Daily News.

Diaz, who will be involved in a Sept. 14 primary election, has spent more than $7,500 on automobile insurance payments, nearly $4,000 for registrations and inspections, and more than $5,340 on repairs and parts this year for the vehicles, some of which are more than 10 years old. He also spent hundreds of additional dollars on gas, tolls and other automobile-related costs, according to campaign filings.

One public interest group has said it does not object to Diaz's automotive spending as long as the vans and trucks are used exclusively for campaigning.

But some officials, such as New York state Senate President Malcolm Smith and Assembly Majority Whip Dov Hikind used campaign money to make car payments, campaign records show. Sen. Jeff Klein of the Bronx even used campaign cash to pay a $40 parking ticket from the city of Albany.

Diaz said the vehicles are used exclusively for campaigning.

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