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Nassau Dem Laura Curran targets taxpayer-funded mailings

Laura Curran, a Democratic candidate for Nassau County

Laura Curran, a Democratic candidate for Nassau County executive. The photo is from Jan. 12, 2017. Photo Credit: Newsday / J. Conrad Williams Jr.

Laura Curran, a Democratic candidate for Nassau County executive, unveiled a plan Thursday to eliminate most taxpayer-funded mailers and fliers.

At a news conference outside her home in Baldwin, Curran said the mailers from most Nassau elected officials are an “egregious” waste of money that provide little useful information to the public.

“Let’s stop pretending that distributing useless information in self congratulatory mailers is a critical function of honest government,” said Curran, a Nassau County legislator. “It’s not. And those that fill up our mailbox know exactly what they’re doing. They know they are campaigning on the taxpayer’s dime.”

Curran said that if elected, she would establish “clear and unambiguous rules” for the content of all mailings, such as the dates of upcoming events, public safety concerns or changes to county policies.

Her reforms, which would apply only to the county executive and Nassau departments, would prohibit mailers from including the politician’s picture and allow their name to be included only once.

Curran also would:

  • Mandate that all mailers read: “printed at taxpayers expense” and identify the name of the official who authorized the expense.
  • Require that funds for mailers be identified in the budget.
  • Prohibit taxpayer-funded mailers from being sent out at least 60 days before a primary or general election.
  • Impose a $10,000 fine on all elected officials who violate the rule.

Curran’s policy, which could be implemented by executive order, would not apply to political campaigns or independently elected officials, such as members of the county legislature, comptroller, district attorney and county clerk.

Curran, who has sent out mailers from her legislative office with her photo, was critical of mailings by Republican County Executive Edward Mangano — including an eight-page document last November touting his record — and Comptroller George Maragos, a Democrat also running for county executive.

“Laura Curran must be referring to her own mailings as all of the county executive’s mailings are informative and include every legislators name,” said Mangano spokesman Brian Nevin.

Maragos campaign strategist Hank Sheinkopf said Curran’s policies “would put a Band-Aid on a tumor. George Maragos, the independent Democrat, has a comprehensive plan to get the money out of Nassau politics.”

A spokesman for Assemb. Charles Lavine (D-Glen Cove), who also is competing for the Democratic nomination for county executive, declined to comment.

Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas, a Democrat, has called on county and state legislative leaders to adopt new restrictions on taxpayer-paid mailings.

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