Taking it to the Streets

Yesterday we gathered outside Sen. Hannon’s office and spoke our minds. Legislators shouldn’t benefit personally from the decisions they’re making in the State Capitol. That’s pretty simple.

But as the chair of the State Senate’s Health Committee, Kemp Hannon has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in the same industries he’s responsible for overseeing and regulating. That isn’t right.

The Daily News reported this week that, Sen. Hannon bought shares in 14 pharmaceutical and health care companies and received more than $420,000 in contributions from those industries. Sen. Hannon also steered $65,000 in state grants to a hospital that his private law firm represented.

Tell Sen. Hannon that he needs to either resign from the State Senate or give up his financial interests in the pharmaceutical and health industries.

What Sen. Hannon is doing may be perfectly legal – but that’s the problem. It’s exactly this kind of legal corruption, where huge corporations and their lobbyists have special ties to legislators that ordinary New Yorkers don’t, that breeds wrongdoing in Albany.

New Yorkers have had enough of elected officials who use their public role for private profit. We saw that in Nassau County last month as voters overwhelmingly rejected the corrupt status quo to elect a district attorney committed to prosecuting public corruption. State legislators should take note.

In order to truly end Albany’s culture of corruption, we need comprehensive campaign finance reform centered on small donors and public matching funds. But it’s senators like Kemp Hannon who are blocking that very reform.
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