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Spitzer Misfires in Attack on Stringer's Sandy Audit Plan

 Damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to Brooklyn homes.
Damage caused by Hurricane Sandy to Brooklyn homes.
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Facebook/Brooklyn Community Foundation

NEW YORK — Former Gov. Eliot Spitzer’s campaign sent out a press release on Monday attacking his opponent, Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, for wanting to “outsource the basic functions” of the city comptroller’s office as part of Stringer’s latest proposal to keep track of where the $15 billion in federal Sandy funding will be spent over the next 10 years.

The lashing came from Hari Sevugan, Spitzer’s spokesman, who chastised Stringer for wanting to “hold to yet another special commission.”

"As comptroller, Eliot will continue to be an independent voice protecting the people’s money, including by avoiding the use of redundant, ‘blue ribbon’ commissions,” Sevugan wrote.

The problem is that Stringer’s plan doesn’t mention anything about commissions or outsourcing. In fact, the very question Spitzer’s campaign raises about the plan—why Stringer wouldn’t just use the audit power of the comptroller’s office to keep on top of Sandy funds—appears to be exactly what Stringer is proposing.

According to the press release announcing the plan, Stringer, if elected, would “establish a designated unit within the Audit Bureau of the city Comptroller’s Office to track Hurricane Sandy recovery funds.” As Spitzer’s campaign points in their email attacking Stringer, this is one of the main responsibilities of the comptroller's office.

In a follow up conversation, Sevugan made it clear the Spitzer campaign didn’t argue against the need for the comptroller’s office to monitor and review how the Sandy funds were being spent. A request for where, exactly, Stringer's plan sought to outsource the power of the comptroller's office or call a blue-ribbon commission were not directly answered. He did, however, say the campaign stood by the criticism, calling into question the necessity of a new audit bureau.