Charities are cashing in from ex-pols’ campaign checks

Their swords are now plowshares.

Elected officials who have retired from the political fray are spending their golden years emptying their campaign coffers by writing generous checks — often to charitable groups.

Politicians spend their careers amassing donations to fund their political battles, but state election law doesn’t require they refund donors for unspent campaign contributions when they bow out of politics.

Instead, the law allows ex-politicians to redirect the funds to charity or political purposes that don’t benefit themselves.

“It’s like a slush fund being used for good,” said political consultant Hank Sheinkopf.

Former Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau, who stepped down as Manhattan’s chief prosecutor in 2014, withdrew $24,359 from his campaign account this year — mostly to bolster charities such as the Citizens Crime Commission ($500), Auschwitz Jewish Center ($1,650), Museum of Jewish Heritage ($2,000), and the Riverside Park Conservancy ($1,000).

The largest donation — $5,000 — went to the FDR Presidential Library, where his father, Henry, once served on the board.

And Morgenthau, 98, still has a staggering $476,812 in his campaign kitty.

“I don’t give it to political groups. It all goes to not-for-profit groups,” Morgenthau said. “I think that’s the right way to do it. That’s what the law says.”

Former Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, who left office in 2014, spent $17,600 in campaign funds this year and still has $258,546 in his account.

But unlike Morgenthau, Markowitz also spread the wealth to parties and political candidates, including Mayor de Blasio, as well as charities.

His biggest gifts went to de Blasio’s re-election campaign ($2,500) and Brooklyn DA Eric Gonzalez’s campaign ($1,500).

Markowitz, 72, also donated $500 to the Working Families Party and $250 to the Brooklyn Democratic Party.

He declined comment.

Markowitz’s predecessor as borough president, Howard Golden, still had $52,462 in his campaign account despite leaving office in 2002. He spent $5,458 this year, including a $1,000 donation to the American Legion of Kings County.

Giving away campaign funds helps retired politicos retain influence, insiders say.

But not everyone agrees with the practice.

“We never thought it was appropriate to use the funds for political purposes,” said Barbara Bartoletti of the League of Women Voters.

“They should be required to close the account six months after retiring,” she said.

Meanwhile, many City Council members are leaving office in January because of term limits — some with campaign booty that could be used to plot another run for office.

Former Councilman David Greenfield, who stepped down earlier this year to run the Metropolitan Council on Jewish Poverty, has $308,545 in his coffers.

Term-limited East Side Councilman Daniel Garodnick has $189,290 in his campaign account and Bronx Councilman James Vacca has $105,000.

Sheinkopf said he expected both Greenfield and Garodnick to seek public office again because they’re both young and viewed as “movers and shakers.”

Greenfield said, “I have no plans to spend these funds.”

Garodnick and Vacca declined comment.