Ending corruption in state government is hot on the mind of Marc Molinaro, who paid a visit to Buffalo on Wednesday morning. The GOP gubernatorial candidate intends to roll out a comprehensive plan for accountability in the capital.
As he outlined a plan to hold Albany accountable, Molinaro called out Governor Andrew Cuomo for not upholding commitments to end corruption.
“Over the last seven years, this governor has emboldened a culture of corruption and has allowed a pay-for-play scheme to corrode all aspects of state government, infecting even his own office.”
Citing an ongoing federal grand jury investigation into the receipt of donations by Cuomo’s campaign from Hudson Valley-based Crystal Run Healthcare, Molinaro claimed a “clear association” between political contributions and the use of taxpayer dollars.
Crystal Run’s executives, their spouses, or company doctors gave at least $400,000 to the campaign in 2013 – $250,000 of which came from ten $25,000 donations. The company later received $25.4 million in state grants.
Molinaro said, in the coming weeks, he will roll out a comprehensive plan he calls the “2019 Government Accountability Act.” It’s key feature – making pay-for-play practices illegal in New York. He said the ban would start with corporations.
“No business, prospectively, shall be allowed to contribute to any officeholder if they are seeking or have secured a contract for service.”
Molinaro’s plan will also call for a universal code of ethics and an independent commission to enforce it, along with the establishment of a new Moreland Commission to uncover corruption.
Molinaro said he’ll also call on the state legislature to vote for term limits. Whether or not they do, he said he’ll limit himself to just two terms as governor, if elected.
In a written response to this story, Cuomo 2018 Press Secretary Abbey Fashouer said Molinaro is "desperately trying to deflect from the sad state of his campaign." Fashouer called Molinaro a hypocrite for taking contributions from businesses with contracts before Dutchess County, where he serves as County Executive.
Molinaro said he has received contributions, but that nearly every contract the county enters into is competatively bid. Referring back to his planned accountability act, Molinaro said, "My expectation would be the second I take office, I'll ask the legislature to impose this standard and live by this standard."
.@marcmolinaro says he'll ask state legislature to vote for term limits. Even if they don't, he says he'll limit himself to two terms if elected governor. Says his "2019 Government Accountability Act will finally reestablish honor and decency and integrity in state government." pic.twitter.com/X2E3hQYvcy
— Avery Schneider (@SAvery131) May 30, 2018
Follow WBFO's Avery Schneider on Twitter @SAvery131.