Democratic State Senate candidate Ryan Cronin introduced his ethics reform agenda Tuesday, including a bill to prohibit state lawmakers from accepting or soliciting contributions from individuals or groups that have business before the legislator’s committee.
The measure, introduced at a news conference in Mineola, is a direct charge at his GOP opponent in the 6th District, Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City), who serves as chairman of the Senate Health Committee. Recent media reports showed that Hannon accepted nearly 53,000 in contributions from the Pain Care Forum, a group composed of drugmakers such as Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson.
“This policy is a crucial step to ending the institutionalized bribery in the state legislative process,” Cronin said Tuesday. “These folks are not contributing because these legislators are nice guys. They are confident that they will get back in return what they want. It is time we hold these elected officials accountable and put taxpayers first.”
Senate Republican spokesman Scott Reif called Hannon a “nationally recognized health care expert who is absolutely and positively beyond reproach” and said Cronin was “engaging in a campaign of smears, lies and innuendo.”
Reif charged that Cronin announced his support for legislation to make it easier for survivors of childhood sexual abuse to sue their abusers after accepting $11,000 in contributions from a political action committee backing the measure. Reif said Cronin also committed to voting for a bill adopting minimum staffing requirements at hospitals and nursing homes after being endorsed by the New York State Nurses Association.
“Ryan Cronin is a walking, talking conflict of interest whose campaign is funded by allies of New York City Mayor [Bill] de Blasio and has no business being our state legislator,” Reif said.
Cronin spokesman Ryan Orsillo responded: “Unlike Kemp Hannon, Ryan supports protecting children against predators. Yes, unlike Kemp Hannon, Ryan supports adequately staffing hospitals to ensure people get the best possible care.”
Cronin’s ethics agenda also calls for banning state lawmakers from earning most forms of outside income, preventing lawmakers from using their campaign accounts to pay for legal fees and limiting state officials to four two-year legislative terms.