Saturday, October 4, 2008

Daily News Editiorial

Surrogate shell game October 4, 2008

Oh, what a costly web you can weave when you try to evade campaign finance laws and get caught at it.

Exhibit A: Nora Anderson, who is all but guaranteed election as a Manhattan surrogate court judge come November.

Regular readers will recall that we recently pointed out that Anderson circumvented the law by financing her campaign with a $225,000 loan that converted to a donation on Primary Day, violating the legal contribution limit by a mere $200,000.

Anderson took the loan from her boss, trusts and estates lawyer Seth Rubenstein. Friday, she filed paperwork reporting that she had repaid the debt by "loaning" her campaign a total of $198,185 of her own money and sending Rubenstein the same amount.

The transactions boosted Anderson's personal investment in the race to $470,000. Where she came up with the money is anyone's guess because, in yet another violation of the rules, she failed to list her income in personal financial disclosure filings.

(Inexplicably, Anderson just amended her statement to report that her husband received a salary as a Family Court lawyer without also declaring her own pay.)

There's an obvious odor to the math here in that Anderson has put up almost half a million dollars chasing a job that pays $136,700.

Then again, surrogates preside over the estates of the dead and are empowered to dispense millions of dollars in court assignments to lawyers and accountants.

So we repeat our support for probes by the state Commission on Judicial Conduct and Manhattan District Attorney Robert Morgenthau. And we stand confident in knowing they're on the case.

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