2009-09-25 / Top Stories

Pheffer And Others Head To China

By Nicholas Briano

Assemblywoman Audrey Pheffer, along with a group of other state lawmakers that includes Senator Malcolm Smith, will travel to China for nine days early next month, according to a published report in the New York Daily News. Smith will be leading what is being called a trade mission, with a total of three senators and seven asemblymembers. According to the Daily News, however, Smith and Pheffer are using campaign monies to fund the $2,000 per person trip.

Pheffer says that as the leader of the Assembly's Consumer Affairs Committee she will benefit greatly from visiting China, which will enhance her role as a consumer affairs advocate.

"It will be an opportunity to meet with businesses in Shanghai and Beijing about the recent toy recalls and testing," Pheffer said. "As far as I know, the law says the campaign money can be used to win re-election and enhance your role to better serve your constituents. I believe this enhances my opportunity to serve my constituents in my role as Consumer Affairs chair."

Pheffer says the group will be leaving on October 9 and plans on visiting three cities in nine days. They plan on having six days of meetings, which, Pheffer added, would leave a day of sightseeing at each location.

She also added that she wouldn't think of making the taxpayers fund her trip in a time of financial crisis, but figured it was a good chance to see China to learn something that she could bring back to Albany.

"They have oversight and testing similar to here and they weren't doing that. They were supposed to upgrade their practices; hopefully we can go to a testing lab and know how they have enhanced the testing on their part," Pheffer said in regard to the toy factories that were found last year to have shipped lead contaminated toys to the United States.

A spokesperson for Malcolm Smith told the Daily News that the mission brings an extraordinary opportunity to bring business to the state. And that using campaign funds for the trip adheres to the letter and spirit of campaign law.

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