ALBANY, NY – Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick, (D-Rockland/Westchester) and Assemblymember Chris Burdick (D-Westchester) announced Friday that they are introducing legislation to freeze the campaign accounts of elected officials who have been impeached in the State Assembly, and for the State Board of Elections to liquidate the account upon conviction by the State Senate. An official impeached by the assembly would temporarily lose access to their campaign account and associated funds, except to pay for any legal defense fees authorized by law, until the conclusion of the impeachment trial. If the court for the trial of impeachment convicts the official, then they will permanently lose all access to their campaign account and associated funds, except to pay legal defense fees.
Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick said “Elected officials who have lost the confidence of the people and committed crimes serious enough to warrant impeachment cannot be trusted with the large sums of money often contained within campaign accounts. Disgraced public officials should not have the ability to use campaign funds to curry favor with other elected officials and organizations, to influence the public, or to mount new political campaigns. The government often freezes accounts of criminals and seizes funds upon conviction, and impeached politicians should not be exempted from this practice.”
Assemblymember Chris Burdick said “It is unfair to the people who gave their money in good faith to an elected official that they trusted to do the job honestly to have that money used after that elected official has been impeached. If exonerated, the money will once again become available. If convicted, it would be a huge miscarriage of justice and a breach of trust to allow that money to stay in the hands of the one who betrayed the office.”
The legislators and their teams are working to draft the language of the legislation immediately, and will seek to introduce the bill as soon as it is completed. The legislation would impact any present and future impeached officials.