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Why this congressman has almost $20,000 in landscaping gifts on his finance reports

Sean Patrick Maloney, left, and Randy Florke departing from Church of St. Mary-in-the-Highland on Saturday, June 21, in Cold Spring, NY. The couple have been together for 22 years (Nils Schlebusch.)

Being a member of Congress means most of your life is open for public scrutiny. Even your wedding presents.

Rep. Sean Maloney (D-N.Y.) didn’t want much for his June 2014 nuptials. Just a little help landscaping the grounds of his sprawling estate in a New York exurb.

Maloney and now-husband Randy Florke, a real estate agent and home designer, married at their home in Cold Spring along the Hudson River. The reception was “a black-tie picnic” with local Hudson Valley fare. Nancy Pelosi gave a toast. Huma Abedin, an aide to Hillary Rodham Clinton, was there with her husband Anthony Weiner.

On the couple’s wedding registry, they wrote they wanted “to plant rose bushes, flower gardens, and fruit trees … so the beauty of this day and your participation in it will be remembered every spring, summer, autumn, and winter in the landscape that surrounds Randy and Sean, their families, and the many friends who often visit.”

By friends, they must also mean the VRBO strangers who can rent their 4,700-square-foot mansion for a mere $30,000 a month. (Xbox included!)

“After 21 years together, Sean and Randy were excited to celebrate a day that was once impossible with family and friends,” Maloney spokeswoman Alex Miller told us in an e-mail. “Many of the gifts they received serve as living reminders of that day and of the love and support of their loved ones.”

Many of their guests obliged. The happy couple received 15 fruit trees worth in all $2,400. A large privet hedge for $500. Several guests gave stone steps totaling $2,700. There were stone walls for $500 per gift, shade gardens for $600 each, and perennial beds for $600 a pop, according to Maloney’s 2014 financial disclosure report.

It was about $20,000 in those registry gifts. Sounds like a lot, but these guys have seven acres to landscape.

Other guests went rogue. There were gifts of pottery worth $2,000. A $550 engraved silver tray. A local DC-area caterer Aziz Benassou comped their rehearsal dinner food and prep worth $5,200. Benassou, who ran Couscous Catering, told the Loop the couple are personal friends. Another guest gave them each $700 cuff links.

Ken Mehlman, former RNC chairman, gave them a $1,000 gift certificate to the Manhattan Michelin-rated restaurant Le Bernardin. (The chef’s tasting menu is a mere $345 per person including wine pairings. With tax and tip, they’ll even have enough left over for an end-of-meal espresso.)

Pelosi and Abedin/Weiner weren’t listed among the gift givers. But the rule is you have a year after the wedding to send a gift, so maybe they’ll turn up in next year’s 2015 disclosures?