Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano Friday issued orders that for the first time require the disclosure of lobbying activity on every county contract and create a registry of all local lobbyists.
Reacting to the corruption case against state Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre) and Skelos' son, Adam, Mangano enacted the policies by signing executive orders, effective immediately. The orders will ensure "the disclosure of lobbying activities pending legislative action," Mangano, a Republican, said in a statement.
Dean and Adam Skelos face federal conspiracy, extortion and bribery charges. Prosecutors say the senator, who stepped down this week as Senate majority leader, pressured a real estate developer to pay Adam Skelos $200,000 through companies including Arizona-based AbTech Industries and influenced the awarding of a $12 million county storm-water treatment contract to the firm.
Adam Skelos spoke with Nassau officials before and after AbTech won the contract in 2013, though county legislators who approved it said they were not aware of his involvement.
Mangano's first order mandates that each company seeking a county contract submit a form with their bid that lists "all lobbyists whose services were utilized at any stage in this matter." A lobbyist is defined as "any and every person or organization retained, employed or designated by any client to influence or promote" matters before the county.
The registry, mandated in the second order, requires any lobbyist earning more than $1,000 annually to influence matters before the county to file annual reports describing his or her activity and all of their clients.
Mangano first proposed the lobbyist registry in legislation he sent to the Nassau County Legislature. Democratic lawmakers proposed a bill requiring lobbyist disclosure for each county contract. Their bill also called for lobbyists to list political ties of family members and all details of their communications with county officials.
Minority Leader Kevan Abrahams (D-Freeport) credited Mangano with reacting to the Democratic bill. But Abrahams said "it is clear these orders do not go far enough and would have not provided the transparency our residents and legislators needed to know about the Skelos-AbTech relationship."
Presiding Officer Norma Gonsalves (R-East Meadow) Friday called Mangano's executive orders and the legislation introduced by Mangano and Democrats "important steps toward increasing transparency with regard to county business."