Longtime Niagara County State Senator George Maziarz is retiring, amid reports that his office is under investigation by a federal prosecutor.
In a statement released Sunday night, the 61-year-old Maziarz acknowledged that he had been considering stepping down for the last five years and that he did not have the passion to seek re-election this fall. He was first elected to the Senate in 1995.
Maziarz' decision comes after the resignation of his chief of staff Alisa Colatarci. Colatarci's attorney says she is cooperating with federal prosecutors after being subpoenaed for an investigation relating to the senator and his campaign committee.
After serving in the Senate for nearly 20 years, Maziarz had earned considerable clout in Albany. He is chair of the powerful Senate Energy Committee.
Three other Republican senators have also decided not to seek re-election this fall.
Canisius College Political Science professor Michael Haselswerdt says Maziarz's decision to leave the Senate is the result of a "perfect storm."
"What he says about being tired of it all and not having the passion could partly be a function of the extra stress that an investigation like this would have," Haselswerdt said. "It just might be a good time for him to get out."