Op­po­nent seeks probe of Cahill ex­penses

Daily Freeman (Kingston, NY) - - FRONT PAGE - By Paul Kirby pkirby@free­manon­line.com paulat­free­man on Twit­ter

The elec­tion op­po­nent of state As­sem­bly­man Kevin Cahill says the long­time law­maker should be in­ves­ti­gated re­gard­ing rev­e­la­tions that Cahill re­ceived per­sonal pay­ments of more than $13,000 from the state for travel ex­penses he al­ready had paid out of his elec­tion cam­paign ac­count.

Jack Hayes, a reg­is­tered Con­ser­va­tive run­ning against Cahill, a Demo­crat, for the 103rd As­sem­bly District seat, fell short of say­ing a crim­i­nal in­ves­ti­ga­tion was war­ranted.

Cahill de­nies wrong­do­ing, but says in­ter­nal ad­min­is­tra­tive safe­guards failed.

Hayes said some sort of probe

is nec­es­sary.

“Some­thing has to be pur­sued here formally be­cause this in­volves the pub­lic trust and that is what has been the prob­lem for the past 10 years,” Hayes said.

On Fri­day, the Times Her­ald-Record pub­lished an ar­ti­cle that quotes Cahill ac­knowl­edg­ing dou­ble pay­ments were made. He told the pa­per that his staff was sup­posed to track ex­penses.

“They were, of course, sup­posed to no­tify me when a state re­im­burse­ment check was to cover ex­penses for some­thing pre­vi­ously paid by the cam­paign,” he said in an email to the Record, “but that didn’t hap­pen ei­ther.”

Cahill told the news­pa­per said he would use per­sonal funds to pay the cam­paign back.

“I am pre­par­ing to send a pay­ment to the cam­paign from my per­sonal funds for a por­tion of what we iden­ti­fied al­ready,” he said in the email, “and will re­im­burse any re­main­ing amounts af­ter we get clar­i­fi­ca­tion of what is due and not due.”

In an email to the Free­man on Fri­day, Cahill said a mis­take was made.

“Noth­ing il­le­gal or im­proper oc­curred,” he said. “How­ever, a sys­tem of checks and bal­ances I in­tended to as­sure proper ac­count­ing did not func­tion that way.

“We have taken steps to cor­rect the pro­cess and to as­sure that the cam­paign is fully re­im­bursed,” said Cahill, who did not say how much would be re­im­bursed.

Cahill, D-Kingston, is seek­ing re-elec­tion on Nov. 8. Cahill, 60, was elected to the As­sem­bly in 1992, lost his seat in 1994, and was re­turned to of­fice in 1998.

Hayes, 73, of Gar­diner, who is run­ning only on the Con­ser­va­tive line in the elec­tion, has said he thinks it’s time for a change.

James Mar­golin, a spokesman for U.S. At­tor­ney Preet Bharara, said the of­fice would have no com­ment.

Ul­ster County District At­tor­ney Hol­ley Carn­right of­fice said in an emailed state­ment Fri­day that it “will re­view al­le­ga­tions, and if we find any merit to a po­ten­tial ex­po­sure, we would then con­tact the [state] At­tor­ney Gen­eral’s Of­fice Ethics Unit, which has been set up specif­i­cally to han­dle cor­rup­tion al­le­ga­tions.”

The Record said it found the dou­ble pay­ments while re­view­ing five years worth of cam­paign ex­pen­di­ture records. The pa­per also ex­am­ined state Leg­is­la­ture travel and ex­pen­di­ture records for sev­eral state leg­is­la­tors from the re­gion.

Cahill told the Record he was not aware of the book­keep­ing er­rors un­til it in­quired.

Hayes noted the rev­e­la­tion comes at a time when other state of­fi­cials have be­ing con­victed of wrong­do­ing. He pointed out that Cahill was close to for­mer As­sem­bly Speaker Shel­don Silver, who was con­victed on fed­eral cor­rup­tion charges.

Hayes said he doubts Cahill is the only leg­is­la­tor that could fall un­der a cloud of sus­pi­cion in­volv­ing travel ex­penses.

“I strongly doubt that he is the only one,” Hayes said.

The Record said it ex­am­ined fi­nan­cial dis­clo­sure data filed with the state Board of Elec­tions by Cahill’s cam­paign.

The pa­per’s re­view of records con­cen­trated on fil­ings dur­ing the past two years.

“From Jan­uary 2015 to July 2016, Cahill had the most travel-re­lated cam­paign ex­pen­di­tures of the seven state As­sem­bly mem­bers and four se­na­tors rep­re­sent­ing the mid-Hud­son,” the pa­per said.

From Novem­ber 2014 to July 2016, Cahill used funds from his Friends of Kevin Cahill cam­paign ac­count to pay more than $13,000 in ex­penses “con­nected with trav­el­ing to and at­tend­ing con­fer­ences across the coun­try,” the Record said.

“In the same pe­riod, Cahill’s of­fice billed the state As­sem­bly travel of­fice nearly $16,000 in con­nec­tion with the same con­fer­ences,” the pa­per said.

“Cahill went to 10 con­fer­ences in the con­ti­nen­tal United States in that time, with trips to San Fran­cisco, Charleston, S.C., In­di­anapo­lis, Seat­tle, San An­to­nio, Lit­tle Rock, Ark., and Portland, Ore. He also at­tended one con­fer­ence in Al­bany and two in Coop­er­stown,” the pa­per said.

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