Long Island activists and superstorm Sandy victims on Wednesday urged Republican Senate and Assembly candidates to reject political contributions from wealthy donors with ties to the fossil fuel industry.
The activists, including members of the Long Island Progressive Coalition, the Working Families Party and the Hempstead-based group, the Corridor Counts, staged rallies at Nassau Republican Committee headquarters in Westbury and at Sen. Kemp Hannon’s Garden City office.
Supporters, chanting “give it back,” also released a report showing that nearly half the $663,000 in “housekeeping” funds raised by the State Republican Party in 2016 came from three donors who each gave $100,000 contributions.
They include industrialist David Koch, whose holdings include oil interests; hedge-fund billionaire Paul Singer, who invested heavily in the energy sector and Charles Joyce, president of a pipeline company and supporter of hydraulic fracking, the process of oil extraction using high pressure mixtures of water, chemicals and sand or gravel. Joyce also created a limited liability company that gave the GOP an additional $30,000.
Donations to the party housekeeping account are not subject to contribution limits, according to state law.
“Money from megadonors from multibillion dollar fossil fuel industry should be rejected by all Long Island elected officials,” said Diane Goins of Hempstead, chairwoman of the Long Island Chapter of New York Communities for Change, a nonprofit coalition of working families in low and moderate income communities.
“Long Island Republicans and state senators should refuse to accept or return the money from megadonors that are guaranteeing future Hurricane Sandys on Long Island,” Goins said.
Senate GOP spokesman Scott Reif said Republicans this year passed legislation requiring water in schools to be tested for lead, secured $300 million for the state’s Environmental Protection Fund and $200 million for environmental infrastructure improvements.
“Senate Republicans recognize the importance of protecting our cherished natural resources for future generations and that’s why we have led the way on key environmental issues here on Long Island and across the state,” Reif said.
Hannon (R-Garden City) faces Democrat Ryan Cronin in November.