Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano more than doubled his campaign fundraising in the first half of this year compared with the prior six-month period, filings released Monday show.
Mangano, a Republican who has yet to commit to seeking a third term in 2017, raised $253,592 between mid-January and mid-July, up from $111,296 over the second half of 2015. He has $1.3 million on hand; he had $2 million at this point in the 2013 election cycle.
All but $7,000 of Mangano’s fundraising in the recent period came in May and June, when the campaign held a large golf event. Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin said in a statement that the campaign didn’t actively fundraise during the first months of this year.
Nevin said Mangano was focused on implementing reforms to Nassau’s contracting system. County contracting came under scrutiny last year after federal corruption charges were filed against former State Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos related to a county contract and Newsday reports of no-bid pacts that went to politically connected companies for amounts just below the threshold for legislative approval.
Skelos and his son, Adam, were convicted in December and are appealing.
In response to the controversies, the county hired new staff to oversee the contracting process, lowered the legislative approval threshold and required vendors to submit new disclosure forms. It stopped short of limiting or banning campaign contributions from companies doing business with it, as some had called for.
The new reports show that some of the larger donations to Mangano this year came from firms or individuals with county contracts, including $5,000 from Transdev, the company that operates Nassau’s bus system.
Asked if the increased activity was indicative of Mangano gearing up for another re-election bid, Nevin noted that the vote was still more than a year away. Nevin added: “Should Ed Mangano seek a third term, I have no doubt he will clearly be re-elected due to his record of creating jobs, reducing crime and holding down taxes while lowering debt and combating the heroin epidemic.”
Among Mangano’s largest expenditures for the period were $75,000 paid to Garden City criminal defense attorney Kevin Keating, after payments to Keating totaling $55,000 in 2015.
Keating, who didn’t return requests for comment Monday, said last year that he had advised Mangano to invoke his Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination if he were called as a witness in the Skelos trial and asked unrelated questions. Mangano was not called as a witness.
Newsday reported last year that Mangano was under scrutiny by federal prosecutors who were examining the dealings of his longtime friend, restaurateur Harendra Singh, who had been charged in another corruption case tied to the Town of Oyster Bay.
Mangano has denied any wrongdoing. Early this year, he also fought a television news report saying he’d traded sexually suggestive messages with a woman who, Newsday later reported, had received no-bid county contracts.
Nassau police concluded the messages were a hoax.
“With incorrect media reports and slanderous accusations that have been proven false, Kevin is a valuable part of the team in providing advice and counsel,” Nevin said of the payments to Keating.