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The state Board of Elections has refused to investigate a complaint that New York Republicans were illegally using money for campaign purposes, officials said Friday.

While the three board members present voted 2-1 to investigate the complaint from Democratic state Sen. Franz Leichter, three affirmative votes from the four-member board are needed to pursue an investigation.

The board's two Democrats, Carol Berman and Evelyn Aquila, voted to investigate while Chairman James Walsh, a Republican, voted to drop the complaint. Republican Helena Donohue was absent when the board voted Wednesday.

"It's just further proof that the Board of Elections exists not to protect the public, but to protect the politicians and the political parties," Leichter said.

In January, Leichter had complained that the GOP committee was illegally channeling money for campaign purposes through an account that was supposed to be used only for such things as paying the electric bill at party headquarters.

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