Nassau residents are calling for campaign finance and ethics reforms in the wake of the indictments of Nassau Executive Edward Mangano and Town of Oyster Bay Supervisor John Venditto, which came down last week.
Residents were joined Monday on the steps of the Nassau County Legislature by members of Common Cause/New York, Long Island Civic Engagement Table, Long Island Progressive Coalition, Make the Road New York, and New York Communities for Change.
“How many more elected officials will be indicted before our leaders in Albany and locally finally take action?” said LIPC Director Lisa Tyson. “The indictments reveal more of the same pay-to-play culture we saw with the convictions of New York State’s former Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos and former Speaker of the Assembly Sheldon Silver.”
Mangano and Venditto were arrested last Thursday and charged with honest services fraud and conspiracy to commit federal program bribery. Federal officials accuse Mangano and Venditto of receiving bribes and kickbacks from a businessman who gave Mangano’s wife a no-show job the year her husband first took office. Federal investigators also claim they received gifts, including two expensive chairs, wooden bedroom flooring, a watch, limousine rides and free office space.
It’s also alleged that they received discounted rates to use private facilities for fundraisers and other activities and free vacations.
Tyson called on “every state legislator who has blocked campaign finance reforms and ethics reforms in the past to finally stand up to corruption and restore the confidence of the residents of Long Island.
“The people of Long Island do not have time for more excuses.”
Those who gathered on Monday called for elected officials to pass a series of comprehensive reforms, many based on the recommendations made by the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption. These reforms include: instituting public financing of campaigns for New York; lowering contribution limits, and fix loopholes; limiting the use of campaign accounts.
The group also called for a package of voting rights reforms in New York that would modernize voting and elections and expand and protect the vote for New Yorkers.