ALBANY — The Oct. 22 arrest of Republican Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano and the Oyster Bay town supervisor on corruption charges has become a central issue for Democrats trying to take control of the State Senate from the GOP.
On Tuesday Democrat James Gaughran of Northport released what he said will be his final ad in the campaign against 21-year veteran Sen. Carl Marcellino (R-Syosett). The narrator in Gaughran’s TV ad said: “Here we go again. Another one of Carl Marcellino’s cronies got busted for corruption. Marcellino has been at the center of these scandals in Oyster Bay and Albany for decades and now he’s being investigated for padding his pockets with taxpayer dollars.”
The ad refers to a 2015 news report by WNBC-TV that the Nassau County district attorney was looking into Marcellino’s use of campaign funds for his automobile expenses while also getting state reimbursement for car travel. The district attorney’s office wouldn’t confirm or deny any investigation, but told News 12 Long Island at the time that, “Albany’s mileage reimbursement and per diem system requires no backup documentation and is prone to abuse.”
There has been no further public action on the issue and Marcellino hasn’t been implicated in any of the criminal cases in Oyster Bay or Albany. When Mangano was arrested last month, Marcellino was among several Republicans who held a press conference to call for the resignations of Mangano and Oyster Bay Town Supervisor John Venditto, who were named in the federal case.
“Jim Gaughran is a hypocrite and a liar,” said Scott Reif, spokesman for the Senate’s Republicans, who are trying to hold their slim majority. Reif said Gaughan has accepted “dirty money” from the campaigns of New York City politicians that the Senate Republicans say want to have New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio set the state’s agenda.
“Senate GOP has passed measure to strip corrupt politicians of their pensions, we have passed term limits for legislative leaders and a recall provision allowing the public to remove corrupt politicians from office,” Reif said.
The Republicans already have a TV ad featuring veteran Sen. Kemp Hannon (R-Garden City) that lists the reforms that Hannon said have already been used to put corrupt politicians in prison (http://nwsdy.li/2f67kJW).
The Republican Senate Campaign Committee, showing its priorities late in the legislative elections, gave Marcellino $105,000 in October alone, according to state Board of Elections filings posted Monday. The Democratic Senate Campaign Committee has given Gaughran of Northport $386,000 during the same period as Long Island becomes the battleground for Senate control (http://nwsdy.li/2f6CUHK).
Several political experts told Newsday that the Oct. 20 arrest of Mangano along with GOP presidential nominee Donald Trump trailing by as much as 20 points in New York polls will compound the Republicans’ challenge to hold the Senate in the state where Democrats have a 2:1 voter enrollment advantage and an expected big turnout for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. (http://nwsdy.li/2eY7iAZ).