Expensed Meal at Hooters In GOP Committee’s Last Filing
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One stereotype of a Republican is a guy at a suburban sports bar watching SportsCenter, emptying mugs of beer, and talking to and looking at women. A check of the most recent financial disclosure report of the New York State Senate Republican Campaign Committee bears out that image.
The committee’s July 15 filing to the state Board of Elections includes a $72.23 expensed meal at a Buffalo-area Hooters, the bawdy restaurant chain known for its greasy wings, flowing beer, and flirtatious waitresses in tank tops.
The meal was one item among about $500,000 in expenses — which also included a $132 meal at TGI Fridays, a chain that is like Hooters but more family-friendly — but it stood out like the orange Dolfin shorts that adorn the Hooters staff. “Unlike the National GOP and Conservative Party, it’s refreshing to see that the State Senate Majority is not afraid of sex,” someone wrote to the political Web log of the Albany Times Union, which first reported on the expense.
The committee is controlled by the venerable Republican majority leader of the state Senate, Joseph Bruno, and helps Republicans in the Senate get and stay elected. Asked about the Hooters expense, a spokesman for Mr. Bruno, John McArdle, replied: “It wasn’t me, if that’s what you’re asking.”
He said the February 7 meal was consumed by unnamed Republican operatives who were in Buffalo aiding the campaign of Christopher Jacobs. The candidate at the time was competing against Democrat Marc Coppola in a special election to fill a Senate seat. Mr. Jacobs lost the election and is now New York’s secretary of state. He was briefly in the news in May when a Republican gubernatorial candidate, William Weld, picked him as running mate about a week before quitting the race.
Messrs. Bruno and Jacobs were nowhere near the premises of the restaurant, Mr. McArdle said — not that there would necessarily be anything wrong with that.”It’s a restaurant like any other restaurant,” he said. “Since when is it wrong to go to a restaurant?”