A New York county executive was arrested and indicted Wednesday for allegedly using his campaign funds for personal expenses, the state attorney general announced.
Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin, a Republican, ordered his campaign to use $3,500 from his campaign funds to pay off a personal debt owed to a staffer, according to New York Attorney General Letitia James.
“Elected officials are entrusted to protect and serve, but Mr. McLaughlin allegedly violated that trust by using his campaign funds as a personal piggy bank,” James said in a press release.
WISCONSIN DEMOCRAT RUNNING FOR SENATE CHARGED ON MULTIPLE CAMPAIGN FINANCE AND FRAUD COUNTS
McLaughlin, 58, is being charged with grand larceny in the third degree and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree. He could face up to seven years in prison.
McLaughlin owed the staffer for possession of the staffer's computer and iPad, leading him to order his campaign to write a $5,000 check to a consulting firm his campaign used. The firm then directed $3,500 to the staffer, according to James.
James said her office is taking this action to protect individuals who donate to political campaigns.
“New Yorkers should have every confidence that the money they donate to their preferred candidates will fund that candidate’s campaign, not personal debts or expenses," James said in a statement. "My office will continue to root out corruption at every level of government and go after those who abuse public trust for private benefit.”
This alleged incident occurred shortly after McLaughlin won his race for county executive in 2017.
Using campaign funds for personal use is illegal and is considered theft, according to the Federal Election Commission.
CLICK HERE TO READ MORE FROM THE WASHINGTON EXAMINER
James, 63, has made headlines in recent weeks for overseeing a bombshell report concluding former Gov. Andrew Cuomo sexually harassed at least 11 women, a release that precipitated his Aug. 24 resignation. Cuomo has insisted he never engaged in inappropriate touching.
In October, James announced a run for governor.
The Washington Examiner reached out to Rensselaer County for comment but did not receive a response before press time.