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Monserrate fined by city for election overspending

He may have won the election, but state Sen. Hiram Monserrate (D−East Elmhurst) will have to pay the city $30,102 in penalties for overspending during his 2005 campaign for re−election to the City Council.

The city Campaign Finance Board fined Monserrate last week for allegedly spending more than $15,000 in 2004 to bypass the 2005 spending limit.

In that race, Monserrate raised $185,352 in private money and $82,500 in public matching funds, campaign finance records show. He spent $267,241 during the campaign, records show. The spending limit in 2005 was $150,000. He ran unopposed on the November ballot that year, earning 8,299 votes.

“I didn’t approve of their decision,” Monserrate said, noting some of the money was used to reserve advertising space at bus shelters. “The expenditures made in 2004 were consistent with the rules of campaign finance. But they have full discretion.”

The senator was not convinced that the ruling was a reaction to his arrest on suspicion of slashing his girlfriend’s face with a broken glass or the payment of $15,000 from his Senate campaign fund to a public relations firm to deal with the situation, which did not violate any state campaign laws.

“I would hope not,” he said, “but clearly it’s suspect.”

Monserrate first ran for the Council seat in 2001. He resigned last year after running unopposed for the state Senate seat formerly held by John Sabini.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jwalsh@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

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