Last we heard from Eliot Spitzer’s replacement, David Paterson had to explain one hotel stay that he charged to his campaign funds that may have been for an extramarital tryst. Now he may have to explain thirteen more that he charged to the state of New York:

Despite owning a house less than 20 minutes from the state Capitol, Gov. Paterson, as lieutenant governor, routinely used taxpayer money to stay at nearby hotels, The Post has learned.

Credit-card records obtained from the state Comptroller’s Office covering Paterson’s nearly 15 months as lieutenant governor showed he charged his state credit card for 13 Albany hotel stays totaling more than $2,500 between Jan. 1, 2007, and this past Feb. 18. …

Despite having a state driver to chauffeur him the 20 minutes home, Paterson, as lieutenant governor, sometimes chose to stay downtown because of a busy schedule, spokesman Errol Cockfield said.

“While he was lieutenant governor, Gov. Paterson had a grueling schedule that required him to be near the Capitol for sensitive negotiations, meetings with legislative leaders, and government-related conferences,” he added.

Sensitive negotiations … for what? As Lieutenant Governor, he had as much power as the hotel doorman in legislative issues. Paterson himself noted that he had no role in budgetary matters, for instance. He wouldn’t have cast any votes, and the Governor would have had the veto power. He had no official role in negotiating anything.

That leaves it to the imagination why Paterson would have eschewed a 20-minute ride home from his chauffeur for an expensive stay at the Crowne Plaza or Clarion. Why didn’t he just return home and save the taxpayers some money? Isn’t that the reason he and his wife spent the money to buy a home nearby the capital?

The people of New York have to wonder when the hits will stop coming. If Paterson has to step down, then Joe Bruno takes over as Governor — even though he’s in the middle of a federal investigation for business dealings outside of politics. Even at that, it would only be temporary, until a special election could be hald. Perhaps that’s what New York needs, as well as a completely new political class.

Tags: New York