Critics Want Sen. Thompson to Pay Back Taxpayers for Book Printing

October 20, 2010 Updated Oct 20, 2010 at 11:40 PM EDT

By WKBW Admin

October 20, 2010 Updated Oct 20, 2010 at 11:40 PM EDT

State Senator Antoine Thompson (D-Buffalo) came under fire on Wednesday night for circulating a 102-page full-color book that was printed using taxpayer dollars just before campaign season.

The book, titled "2010 State of the 60th Senatorial District Report" showcases Thompson's accomplishments in Albany, according to a spokesman.

"It is merely a snapshot of the district," Thompson said in a statement.

The senator avoided our cameras outside a North Buffalo restaurant, where Thompson was hosting a $250 per person fundraiser on Wednesday.

Outside, his critics held a protest demanding that he pay back the money.

"We're a group of very frustrated taxpayers who feel insulted and offended by Antoine Thompson's behavior," said Matthew Ricchiazzi, who organized the protest.

Thompson supporters were there as well, including Chy'nel Lee. She called the book a good use of taxpayer money.

"I think his constituency represents a large amount of people who don't have means to Internet access or online activitIes. A lot of senior citizens who don't have the ability to use those things. And they want to be equally informed as everybody else," Lee said.

Members of the state legislature are barred from using their taxpayer-funded accounts to send mail to their constituents 30 days prior to the Primary and General Elections. But the book is not being mailed and does not violate any ethics laws, a Thompson spokesperson said.

"I think anybody who believes that excuse is not connected with reality," said Ricchiazzi. "Any reasonable observer would look at this and realize that he's trying to get around the law."