At my request, NYPIRG spreadsheet whiz Bill Mahoney put together a list of 43 so-called “ghost committees” – still-active campaign committees belonging to former lawmakers, some of whom are no longer even alive.

These 43 committees alone have a combined total balance of $11 million.

And this isn’t even a complete list. As Mahoney explained “getting everybody would require going through all 3,092 filings and Googling lots of names of former village councilmen.”

“There’s a category of ex-elected which this doesn’t include, and is beyond my ability to track,” Mahoney added.

“Since the only real punishment for not filing is public shame, some candidates simply stop filing despite having hundreds of thousands left in the bank. A number of candidates have done this once; (former Senate Majority Leader) Pedro Espada has now pulled this off thrice.”

This is something of a perennial story, but it nevertheless always manages to produce some nuggets that boggle the mind.

For example, the late Senate Majority Leader Ralph Marino, who died in 2002, has more on hand in his campaign committee – $109,095 – than 145 incumbent (and still living) legislators.

There’s also quite a number of former legislators who went into the private sector (usually the lobbying or consulting business), who are using their old campaign committees to spread around some cash love.

Former Long Island GOP Sen. Mike Balboni, whose departure from the Senate to take a job in the Spitzer administration caused consideration consternation – the the temporary loss of a seat to the Democrats – among his former colleagues, is now making up for things by giving them some of his old campaign cash that’s sitting around collecting dust.

He’s also giving to Democrats, including $1,000 to NYC Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who’s likely to run for NYC mayor in 2013; $1,000 to NYC Councilman Mark Weprin; and $500 to his local DA, Kathleen Rice.

In addition, Balboni’s committee refunded $700 to his wife, Stephanie, but there’s no explanation as to what that was for.

At least two former lawmakers who are now officials in the Cuomo administration – ex-Assemblyman Jonathan Bing and ex-Sen. Darrel Aubertine – have yet to close down their committees.

Bing had $64,252 on hand as of mid-January. Aubertine had $23,966, and transferred $27,470 to his former Senate colleagues last summer.

Ghost Committees