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Leftover funds paid for Spitzer inaugural

Gov. Eliot L. Spitzer's campaign account spent about $1.5 million on the governor's Jan. 1 inaugural bash, according to records filed with the state Board of Elections.

The spending covered everything from creation of a large, round stage that was constructed by the state outside the Capitol to $165,000 for food and beverages and nearly $100,000 for an inauguration night concert.

Spitzer did not raise any money during the period from Dec. 1 to Jan. 11 specifically to pay for the inaugural. Flush with cash left over from his campaign last fall, Spitzer had vowed he would not create a separate fundraising arm to finance his inaugural activities.

Twelve years ago, then-Gov. George E. Pataki came under intense criticism for establishing a fund -- not covered by campaign finance laws -- that allowed individuals and companies with business before the state to make huge contributions to fund his inaugural; Pataki had sought to keep the donors secret but was forced to reveal them following a lawsuit.

The new Spitzer report shows he began the period with $5.5 million on hand, and ended with $2.9 million. More than half of the nearly $2.6 million spent during the period went to the inaugural.

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