A coalition of social action groups demonstrated Tuesday outside Nassau County government offices in Mineola against $144,000 in campaign contributions to County Executive Edward Mangano from 23 contractors who got post-superstorm Sandy cleanup jobs.
"While many residents were figuring out where they'd live or when they could return to a normal life, County Executive Mangano was leveraging his power to award emergency contracts to fill his campaign bank account," said Lisa Tyson, the director of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, a nonprofit that promotes sustainable development and revitalization of local communities.
Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said the contributions "are lawful and properly reported with the state."
County Legis. Dave Denenberg, (D-Merrick), a protest participant, said "no campaign donations from an emergency contractor to a municipal leader should be allowed for some time after that leader has hired the contractor." Denenberg noted that such "emergency" contracts bypass the full county Legislature and are decided by the smaller Rules Committee.
The coalition cited a recent Associated Press story in saying that 23 companies gave Mangano more than $144,000 in the 11 weeks after Sandy.
Nevin called Denenberg's participation "political grandstanding by a legislator who accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from firms whose contracts he approved."
Denenberg later replied: "I always put people before politics, others should, too."
The coalition also called on Long Island state senators to help pass fair election reforms aimed at the state's finance campaign system.