Companies vying for Nassau County contracts would have to disclose their political campaign contributions under a bill approved unanimously by a legislative committee Monday.
The bill passed by the Rules Committee would require vendors to disclose contributions to the campaign committees of all countywide elected officials or candidate going back a maximum of two years. The law would go into effect in April.
The measure also requires lobbyists, who must register annually with Nassau if they are advocating for prospective contracts, to list their contributions during the previous year.
The bill, sponsored by County Executive Edward Mangano, was modeled on proposals offered earlier this year by an outside panel that examined Nassau’s contracting process.
“This is a step in the right direction,” said County Attorney Carnell Foskey, adding that Mangano is working on a more comprehensive contracting reform bill.
Nassau contracting has been under scrutiny since State Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) was charged with improperly influencing the awarding of a $12 million county stormwater treatment contract to a company that had employed his son, Adam. Dean and Adam Skelos have pleaded not guilty to federal charges of bribery, conspiracy and extortion.
Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) said Monday that Democrats will vote against or abstain from approving all contracts until the procurement process is reformed. He said the move was prompted by Deputy County Executive Rob Walker’s testimony at the Skelos trial last week that he is under investigation for steering contracts to campaign donors.
“It’s hard for us to take any contract under consideration not knowing if it has this possible black cloud,” Abrahams said.
Legis. Howard Kopel (R-Lawrence) responded that “it’s our job ... to to decide on each contract.”
Republicans hold a 12-7 advantage in the legislature, and Democrats do not have the votes to stop contract approvals.
The full legislature is expected to vote on the measure Dec. 21.