Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, who is facing federal corruption charges, spent $200,000 in campaign funds last fall to pay his criminal defense attorney, according to campaign finance reports filed Tuesday with the state Board of Elections.
The payment from Friends of Ed Mangano to Garden City attorney Kevin Keating was dated Oct. 25, five days after Mangano was arrested on charges of conspiracy to commit bribery, fraud, extortion, and obstruction of justice.
Mangano, a Republican, has pleaded not guilty. Prosecutors allege that he received bribes and kickbacks from a local restaurateur in exchange for benefits including a county contract.
Since 2015, Mangano has paid a total of $330,000 in campaign funds to Keating, records show. After raising $265,112 in the most recent filing period — covering July 12 to January 13 — Mangano has $1.2 million in cash on hand.
Nearly all the money was raised before his arrest.
Mangano has not yet said whether he will seek a third term in November, though GOP sources said it is unlikely they will nominate him again.
Asked to comment about his legal bills, Mangano said in a statement Tuesday night that “the justice system is costly for one to prove their innocence and I am reviewing reforms so those with less resources have fair access to counsel.”
The use of campaign funds for criminal defense expenses is allowed under state election law. The practice has been used widely by officials including former State Sen. Dean Skelos (R-Rockville Centre), who was convicted of corruption charges in 2015, and is appealing; and Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota, a Democrat, whose re-election campaign spent $21,378 on a criminal defense firm during the most-recent period.
Newsday has reported that federal prosecutors are reviewing the actions of Spota’s office for potential illegalities. Spota has not been accused of a crime and has denied all wrongdoing.
Tuesday’s campaign finance filings also marked the first public reports by the four Democrats hoping to succeed Mangano as Nassau County executive:
- County Comptroller George Maragos raised $64,055 and loaned his campaign $450,000. Maragos loaned his campaign $1 million last summer, and has $1.5 million on hand.
- Nassau County Legis. Laura Curran (D-Baldwin) raised $214,099, and transferred another $37,500 from her legislative campaign account. She ended the period with $230,325 on hand.
- Long Beach City Manager Jack Schnirman, who has yet to formally announce his campaign, raised $185,134 for “Nassau Forward,” his exploratory committee. He has $178,686 on hand.
- Assemb. Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove) raised $150,474 and transferred $57,000 from his Assembly campaign. He ended the period with $204,240 in the bank.
No Republicans have declared candidacies for county executive.