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Rensselaer County Executive McLaughlin charged in campaign fund scheme

Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin
Dave Lucas
Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin

An attorney for recently re-elected Rensselaer County Executive Steve McLaughlin says his client “has engaged in no wrongdoing.” McLaughlin was arraigned today on grand larceny and offering a false instrument charges.

New York State Attorney General Tish James alleges McLaughlin stole thousands of dollars in campaign contributions. James, a Democrat, says after McLaughlin was elected County Executive in November 2017, he withdrew $5,000 from his campaign fund and directed that $3,500 of it be given to a staffer to pay off McLaughlin’s personal debts. At the time, the Republican was serving in the state Assembly.

McLaughlin was released on his own recognizance. Grand Larceny in the Third Degree carries a maximum sentence of more than 2 years to 7 years in prison.

McLaughlin won a second four-year term last month.

Troy Mayor Patrick Madden, a Democrat, is the brother of McLaughlin’s predecessor as county executive, Kathy Jimino. He was asked about the charges by WAMC News today.

"At this point in time, I don't know anything," he said. "At this point I'm just going to withhold judgment until there's a court resolution or at least something comes out officially."

James says if convicted, McLaughlin would be removed from office.