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A $100 donation, in context

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While Dede Scozzafava gave $100 to Rep. Bill Owens, angering good-government groups in the process, the amount nowhere near the bonanza that occurred when state Sens. Jim Wright and Ray Meier left politics.
Mr. Wright, a Republican who represented the 48th Senate District until his retirement at the end of 2007, still had more than $100,000 left in his campaign coffers.
There's $11,000 left now. That's because since he left politics, he went on a spending spree, including a $25,000 donation to the Senate Republican Campaign Committee, $2,500 to the Republican Assembly Campaign Committee, and various donations of smaller sizes to his Republican colleagues.
He gave $29,249 to the RTCPAC, which seems to be the Rye Town Conservative political action committee.
In total, there are more than $70,000 in donations to various candidates and committees.
The most recent donation came in October 2009, a $500 donation to the committee of Cheryl Lane, the Jefferson County clerk, according to his documents.
The money didn't stop coming in after he retired, either. Mr. Wright received $5,150 in donations after leaving office.
None of this is against the law, but it's against good practices of ethics, the goo-goos say. Good-government groups want politicians to simply give the money back to their contributors or give it to charity. (These donations don't count as giving money back to contributors, by the way. There's a special schedule for that, which this wasn't filed under.) Why should officials be able to continue to wield influence from their political graves?
Mr. Wright gave $2,500 to the Hospice Foundation of Jefferson County. So there's that.
Mr. Wright's July 2011 documents still aren't up online. He's now the CEO of the Development Authority of the North Country.
Mr. Meier's are. And he's still dishing out funds. He had nearly $200,000 left in the bank when he left the state Senate, representing Lewis County and part of St. Lawrence County, at the end of 2006. It's been a slow bleed since then. Most recently, Mr. Meieir donated almost $1,200 in March, including contributions to the state Conservative Party and Tony Picente, the Oneida County executive. His campaign contributors also footed the bill for a $250 hotel stay in New York City for the state Republican Convention in 2010.
About $13,000 remains in his campaign accounts. Where that money goes, nobody knows.

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