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Legislative nonprofit’s chair dodges on connections to lobbyist

ALBANY — Days after it was revealed that the state attorney general’s office was probing the Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators Inc., the nonprofit’s chairwoman posted a letter to members trying to smooth over potential concerns about the group’s finances ahead of its annual Caucus Weekend, which kicks off Friday night in downtown Albany.

Assemblywoman Latrice Walker’s Jan. 23 letter made no mention of two subpoenas that were issued in connection with the probe, but highlighted the steps the charity’s board took after she was elected chairwoman in 2017.

“Since then, the association has been involved in a rigorous process of corporate restructuring, and financial analysis, planning and reporting,” she wrote.

But in an interview this week, Walker refused to provide basic facts about the nonprofit’s operations, including exactly how it raised and distributed scholarships in the past and whether a powerful lobbyist, who also serves as her campaign consultant, has lobbied her while she was chair of the nonprofit.

The association is the nonprofit arm of the state Black, Puerto Rican, Hispanic and Asian Legislative Caucus. Each winter in Albany, it hosts a weekend-long gathering with various panels and parties. The event is funded by expensive sponsorships, which are …read more

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