Here's yet another example of why we need more open government in Albany.

James Odata reports in today's Albany Times Union that Albany County DA David Soares has begun an inquiry into State lawmakers' use of discretionary funds, also known as "member items."

According to the article, the investigation may have been triggered by earlier reporting in the Times Union about the "questionable use by some state senators and members of the assembly of the $200 million a year secretly carved up in the Capitol by members of the Legislature and the governor for pet projects."(emphasis added).

Secretly? Um, whose money is this anyway?

Previous reporting gives us a clue as to the type of "secret carving up" Soares may be looking at:

The investigation follows reports in the newspaper about the hundreds of thousands of dollars in member item funds steered by Assemblyman Ruben Diaz Jr. and Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., both of the Bronx, to nonprofit organizations under the elder Diaz's control.

Sounds troubling, to say the least.