As he fights federal corruption charges, now-former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos, R-Nassau County, has so far avoided paying for his attorneys with funds from his political campaign, a popular payment mechanism for lawmakers and state officials facing legal troubles.
A website for The Skelos Family Legal Defense Fund popped up recently, soliciting contributions to pay for Skelos and his son’s representation in federal court. (Newsday first spotted the website Wednesday.)
It’s not clear who is behind the effort.
The website, skelosfamilylegaldefensefund.com, was registered by a proxy. A note at the bottom of the website says the fund was “set up by friends of the Skelos Family to help cover the exorbitant legal costs that are being incurred in defending the Skelos Family against politically motivated attacks being brought by the United States Attorney.”
The Skeloses were indicted earlier this year on corruption charges, with U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara accusing Dean Skelos of using his political influence to get Adam Skelos a job with an Arizona-based water-treatment firm with close ties to Glenwood Management, a New York City real estate company that is one of the state’s major political donors.
Dean Skelos’ campaign-finance filing Wednesday showed he raised about $218,000 over the past six months.
But much of that was raised before he was arrested in May. Skelos raised $70,500 following his arrest, but $50,000 of that came directly from the Senate Republican Campaign Committee.