Campaign donations by Melius, family and his companies
The at least $1.3 million in political contributions Newsday linked to Gary Melius, his family members, his companies and his employees are likely only a portion of his campaign donations over the years.
Newsday reviewed federal contribution records, which date to 1980, and state candidate and committee records, which go back to 1986.
Contributions to county, town, city and village candidates are available going back only to 2006, however. That’s when electronic filing began to be required and older paper records for local contributions have since been destroyed. Newsday was able to incorporate some older local contributions Melius made that were detailed in a 1995 newspaper report.
More than 1,100 contributions were found in Newsday’s review of the political contributions by Melius, his family members, his companies and his employees. Here is a breakdown by political party, including contributions to committees unaffiliated with a party.
- Democratic $755,604.27
- Republican $461,255.58
- Conservative $38,850
- Unaffiliated $36,145
- Independence $18,450
The largest sums to individual candidates and political party committees are detailed below. The totals include contributions made to campaigns for any office candidates sought. Behind the bare numbers are several deeper and more complicated stories of Long Island politics and Melius’ involvement with it. For example, Andrew Hardwick, a registered Democrat, attempted to run as a third-party candidate for Nassau County executive in 2013. Each candidate’s last elected position and current political party is listed below.
Candidate or committee contributions
- Nassau County Democratic Party $79,000
- Freeport Mayor Andrew Hardwick (D) $62,435.93
Suffolk County Executive Steve Levy (D) $61,300
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone (D) $53,370.20
Rep. Peter King (R) $35,400
Hempstead Democratic Party $34,860
Huntington Supervisor Frank Petrone (D) $33,742.35
Rep. Steve Israel (D) $33,200
New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer (D) $32,321
Huntington Councilman Mark Cuthbertson (D) $31,300
The contributions to Hardwick by Melius, his family and his business were primarily for his aborted third-party run for Nassau County executive, which was widely believed to have been designed to siphon votes away from Thomas Suozzi, the Democrat challenging Republican incumbent Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, a Melius ally. Contributions to Cuthbertson, Petrone and Israel were among $214,067 in contributions to political committees and elected officials from Huntington. The vast majority of the other contributions to Democratic candidates and committees occurred before Melius and Nassau County Democratic Party chairman Jay Jacobs began feuding over various issues.
Other major recipients include Mangano, who received $21,400; former Democratic Suffolk County Legis. Lou D’Amaro, who received $17,112.09; former Republican Sen. Alfonse D’Amato, who received $17,000; Suozzi, who received $15,000; and former Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice, a Democrat, who received $13,300, but then declined to accept contributions linked to Melius in her successful congressional campaign in 2014.