Ahead of the Nov. 8 election, Republicans are urging state Attorney General Letitia James to look into suspected pay-to-play schemes involving Governor Kathy Hochul. According to The New York Post, calls for an investigation into gubernatorial fundraising have been made following several reports exposing questionable campaign contributions made to Hochul.
A recent report revealed that Medical Answering Services, which manages Medicaid transportation services received millions in state contracts after donating $52,600 to her campaign. Additionally, the family in charge of a COVID-19 quick testing firm received $637 million in no-bid contracts after donating nearly $300,000 to Hochul’s campaign, which has raised more than $34 million for her first full term as governor. Hochul has also drawn criticism for taking donations from those looking for state funding for projects such as renewing liquor licenses, redeveloping the area around Penn Station, and bringing a casino to Manhattan’s West Side.
On Tuesday, state GOP chair Nick Langworthy said, “Kickback Kathy is the new reigning champion of the Albany cesspool of corruption.” He explained that “She is brazenly selling lucrative state contracts to her donors and just because it’s likely done with a wink and a nod doesn’t make it any less criminal. She needs to be investigated and thrown out of office by the voters.”
Michael Henry, the GOP nominee for attorney general against James stated, “How many scandals do we need in the state before we have an investigation? These unseemly and unethical actions need to end now.” GOP comptroller candidate Paul Rodriguez noted that “We thought Andrew Cuomo was bad. I think we’re really getting into the big leagues now.”
Notably, in April, Hochul’s Lt. Governor Brian Benjamin stepped down after being charged with bribery and fraud for allegedly funneling public cash to a real estate developer in exchange for campaign contributions. He pleaded not guilty but resigned immediately.
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