Politics

New York Democrat Billed Taxpayers for Phone Sex Call

Democrat congressional candidate Mike Arcuri, while serving as district attorney of Oneida County, N.Y., has billed taxpayers for several questionable expenses, including a call to a phone-sex hotline, according to records obtained by HumanEvents.com.

Arcuri, running in New York’s 24th District against Republican Ray Meier, has spent the past 12 years as Oneida County’s district attorney. During that period, his annual expense reimbursements have skyrocketed. From 1998 to 2005, they increased nearly 7,000%.


1998 $763.70
1999 $1,731.37
2000 $2,052.79
2001 $2,753.25
2002 $5,415.80
2003 $33,896.82
2004 $33,756.87
2005 $54,077.74


A close examination of those expense reports reveals that Arcuri billed taxpayers in 2004 for a call to a phone-sex number. (Audio is available here. Some may be offended by its contents.) The phone number appears on Arcuri’s hotel bill. He was attending the New York State District Attorneys Association conference in New York City at the time.

(This afternoon, after this story was posted, I was informed that the number in question, 800-457-8462, was accidentally dialed instead of 518-457-8462. The latter number is for the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. However, this new information raises questions about why Arcuri dialed his calling card, 800-255-2255, just one minute after hanging up on the phone sex hotline, as his hotel bill indicates. The campaign has still not returned my calls seeking an explanation.)

The questionable expenditures don’t stop there. Among others were a staff member’s call to a New York City strip club in 2000, applications for admission to the U.S. Supreme Court in 2000 and a gift for the president of a professional association Arcuri belonged to in 2003.

All of the requests for reimbursement were approved by the county. One form, dated Dec. 10, 2003, says Arcuri’s American Express card “is used strictly for business purposes.”

Two calls placed to Arcuri’s campaign spokeswoman on Tuesday were not returned.

(Late Tuesday afternoon, after this story was published, Oneida County Conservative Party Chairwoman Julie Miller called on Arcuri to explain the matter. “I’m outraged that Oneida County District Attorney Arcuri would use our taxpayer dollars in this manner. I demand Arcuri provide an explanation, if one can be given,” said Miller.)

The race for New York’s 24th District is considered one of the most competitive in the country. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee has invested money in Arcuri’s race as part of its “Red to Blue” program, and Vice President Cheney and First Lady Laura Bush have held fundraisers in the district on Meier’s behalf. Meier is one of 21 candidates endorsed by Rightroots.

During a debate last week with Meier, Arcuri accused the Republican state senator of raising taxes while in Albany. Meier immediately rebutted the charge, pointing to the budgets that Arcuri oversaw as district attorney.

Those budgets—like the expense reports—have also increased significantly since Arcuri first took office. His first budget request for the department was $1.3 million in 1995. Last year, however, he requested a budget of $3.7 million—representing a 183% increase.

Mike Arcuri’s Expenditures

The following are some notable expenditatures that Arcuri submitted for reimbursement.

1998

  • $534.30: New York State District Attorneys Association (NYSDAA) conference.
  • $147.58: New York State Prosecutors Training Initiative (NYPTI) dinner in Albany, N.Y.

1999

  • $1,578.55: NYSDAA winter conference in New York City. (Three staff members accompanied Arcuri.)

2000

  • $1,292.37: NYSDAA winter conference in New York City. (Three staff members accompanied Arcuri.) It was during this trip that one staff member called the Legz Diamond strip club. The call was apparently brief, resulting in a charge of 97 cents on the hotel bill.
  • $137.71: Indigent Defense 2000 Symposium in Washington, D.C.
  • $374.96: NYSDAA summer conference at Doral Arrowwood Resort in Rye Brooks, N.Y.
  • $200.00: Application for admission to the U.S. Supreme Court for Arcuri and Assistant District Attorney William Weber.

2001

  • $1,366.75: NYSDAA winter conference in New York City. (Four staff members accompanied Arcuri.)
  • $461.16: NYSDAA summer conference in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.

2002

  • $140.00: NYSDAA summer conference dinner. (Three staff members accompanied Arcuri.)

2003

  • $1,312.82: NYSDAA winter conference in New York City. (Four staff members accompanied Arcuri.)
  • $38.66: Purchase of a wine cooler as a gift for NYSDAA President James Vargason.
  • $745.19: NYSDAA summer conference in Lake Placid, N.Y.
  • $264.80: NYSDAA meeting with governor in New York City
  • $146.88: NYPTI meeting in Syracuse, N.Y.
  • $515.35: NYSDAA conference in New York City

2004

  • $3,161.48: NYSDAA summer conference in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. (Two staff members accompanied Arcuri.)
  • $1,165.85: NYSDAA winter conference in New York City. During this trip, Arcuri’s hotel bill includes a $1.25 charge to a phone-sex hotline. One minute later, he called a number traced back to a phone card, for which he was billed another $1.25.
  • $69.32: Safe Schools Conference in Memphis, Tenn.

2005

  • $1,063.38: NYSDAA winter conference in New York City. (One staff member accompanied Arcuri.)
  • $48.00: NYSDAA dinner in Cooperstown, N.Y.
  • $132.00: CAC seminar in Atlantic City, N.J.


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