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Curran bars more county workers from contributing to her campaign

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran a provide an

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran a provide an update on COVID-19 on Monday, Oct. 19, 2020 in Mineola... Credit: Howard Schnapp

Nassau County Executive Laura Curran has issued an executive order banning more county employees from giving to her November reelection bid, expanding on a political finance rule she issued shortly after she came into office in 2018.

The new order, Curran said, is aimed at setting an example for the rest of the state in creating a professional government workforce free from partisan political pressure — part of her 2017 campaign promise to eliminate the corruption and nepotism that had plagued Nassau for decades.

"Taking the politics out of government has been a top priority since I took office. This is yet another step toward ensuring the best people in our government are serving the public and free from even the perception of undue influence," Curran said in a statement.

In 2018, Curran signed an executive order prohibiting members of her top staff, including department heads, commissioners and deputies, from contributing to her political campaign. Officials said the new order covers 250 additional nonunion employee within her administration, including program coordinators, deputy county attorneys, staff assistants, legislative assistants, analysts, inspectors and health directors. In total, about 300 county employees are barred from giving to Curran's reelection campaign, officials said.

All affected employees also are prohibited from soliciting others for campaign contributions, as well as reimbursing third parties who contribute money.

But Republican spokesman Christopher Boyle said he believed "pay-to-play culture is alive and well in Nassau County," citing two of Curran's biggest campaign contributions: $25,000 from Simon Properties, owners of the Roosevelt Field Mall and recipients of several IDA tax breaks; and $20,000 from Karli Hagedorn, a member of the Curran 2017 transition team.

In response, Curran spokesman Mike Fricchione said: "Clearly Republicans have already kicked off the campaign season, because while they were busy taking potshots, the county executive was busy fighting to get additional doses of life saving vaccines into the arms of residents. We welcome the legislature to follow the county executive and pass a similar piece of legislation that would apply to themselves."

Curran, 53, a Democrat from Baldwin, has more than $2 million for her reelection campaign, raising $834,903 between mid-July 2020 and mid-January 2021, state campaign filings show.

The Nassau Republican Committee has yet to name a candidate to challenge her.

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